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Differences Between Usted and Ustedes

Usted vs Ustedes

Based not on an American perspective, perhaps all people are bilingual. Aside from learning their native language, they have to study English in school since it is the international language. I don’t mind studying English since it’s easy to learn. The English alphabet is almost the same with our native alphabet. From elementary grade up to college level, we kept studying the English language. Some of my classmates cursed the English language since it was really hard studying a language which is not your own.

But our burden was increased as soon as we entered our fourth year in college. We thought that we were already free from studying foreign languages. Foreign language was only an elective subject, but then it became mandatory. If we would not enroll ourselves in a foreign language, we wouldn’t be able to graduate. Since foreign language was elective, we thought that we would have the free reign on what language we wanted to study. But as soon as we looked at the list of languages, we only saw Spanish, Spanish, and Spanish. The only foreign language available in our school was Spanish.

Well, it’s another okay situation for me. I was confident that I wouldn’t have any troubles studying another language, be it English or Spanish. But I was wrong. Spanish was hard to learn since I didn’t have the heart for studying it. One time, we had a Spanish quiz. The words I would never forget are “usted” and “ustedes.” These Spanish words made me grab a failing mark of 4 out of 20 items. Even so, our Spanish professor announced our scores in front of the whole class. I didn’t like studying Spanish so I got a hellish grade.

For now, let us differentiate “usted” from “ustedes.” I’ll explain to you what I remembered though I’m not an expert in the Spanish language.

To begin with, there are four forms of “you” in the Spanish language. The four forms are: tú, vosotros/as, usted, and ustedes. Tú can be used to address people who are among your peers or young people. While vosotros/as is used to replace tú when you are addressing a group of people you are familiar with.

Usted is a singular pronoun used to address anyone whom you consider as your superior, or an older person such as a doctor, a professor, a policeman, and the likes. On the other hand, the plural pronoun form of usted is ustedes. Here are some example sentences from a Spanish online teaching source that shows the usage of usted and ustedes.

Examples for Usted:


  1. ¿Cómo se llama usted? What’s your name? – This statement shows that the person asking is exhibiting the value of respect towards a person he just recently met. Usted is correctly used.

  2. ¿A usted le gusta el tango? Do you like the tango? – The usted used in the statement indicates formality.
  3. Usted tiene una casa muy bella. You have a very beautiful house. – The usted used in the statement indicates respect and formality.

Examples for Ustedes:

  1. ¿Adónde van ustedes dos? Where are the two of you going? – The ustedes used in the statement can either be formal or informal.
  2. ¡Trabajen ustedes! You all work! – The ustedes used in the statement is addressed to several people to do their work.
  3. ¡Escriben ustedes! You all write! – The ustedes used in the statement is addressed to several people to do their writing activity.

Summary:

  1. There are four forms of “you” in the Spanish language which are: tú, vosotros/as, usted, and ustedes. Tú can be used to address among your peers or young people. While vosotros/as is used to replace tú when you are addressing a group of people you are familiar with.

  2. Usted is a singular pronoun used to address anyone whom you consider as your superior or an older person. On the other hand, the plural pronoun form of usted is ustedes.


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