What is the VOS Form in Spanish and Why Is it Important?

What is vos in Spanish?

When students first come to me they ask what is the vos form in Spanish? Voseo is the use of the pronoun “vos” instead of “tú”. In Argentina we never use the pronoun “tú”. The voseo also occurs in Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay, and in some regions of several other countries in Latin America such as Mexico and Chile. The pronouns we use in Argentina are: yo, vos, él, ella, usted, nosotros/as, ustedes, ellos/as. Therefore, we don’t use “tú” and “vosotros”. 

  • Argentina: vos.
  • Otros países: tú.

So what does vos in Spanish mean?

In simple words, it is an alternative way of saying “tú”. 

Where is vos used in Spanish? Is it the same as “vosotros”?

The two pronouns “vos” and “vosotros” seem similar but they aren’t the same. “Vos” is the informal way of saying “you” when referring to one person. While “vosotros” is the informal way of saying “you” when referring to more than one person in Spain only. In the Americas we don’t use “vosotros” for the plural form, we say “ustedes”.

  • Vos = 1 person, informal, used in Argentina.
  • Vosotros = 1+ person, informal, used in Spain. 

How is vos used in Spanish?

Using “vos” is a lot easier than you think.

When we conjugate any verb in the present tense for the pronoun “vos” we leave the root of the verb as it is. There are no irregularities. Therefore: TENER: tú tienes vs vos tenés. Just add an accent at the end.

See more verbs below and compare.

INFINITIVOVOS
amaramasamás
cantarcantascantás
pagarpagaspagás
perderpierdesperdés
mordermuerdesmordés
movermuevesmovés
vivirvivesvivís
reirríesreís
morirmueresmorís

Pay attention to the irregular verbs like mover and morder. See what happens with the pronoun tú? They change the stem. Verbs conjugated for the pronoun vos don’t change the stem. Therefore, the only change you need to make is to add an accent at the very end of the word. Isn’t this way better than learning all the stem changing verbs? 

The verb SER, an exception to all rules: Vos sos

The verb “ser” is the most irregular verb in Spanish. For the pronoun “tú” the conjugation in the present tense is “eres”. As in “¿Y tú quién eres?”. For the pronoun “vos” the conjugation in the present tense is “sos”. As in “¿Y vos quién sos?”. See more examples below. 

  • Hola, soy Melany. ¿Vos quién sos?
  • ¿Sos la hija de Pablo?
  • Vos sos el novio de Julia, ¿no?
  • ¿Sos de Piscis?
  • ¿De dónde sos? Yo soy de Italia.

The times when verb conjugations are the same for “tú” and “vos”.

Verbs in all tenses, except the present indicative and the imperative (commands), are conjugated the same way for vos and tú. 

  • Tú comiste las sardinas.
  • Vos comiste las sardinas.
  • Tú corrías rápido.
  • Vos corrías rápido.
  • Tú volverás a enamorarte.
  • Vos volverás a enamorarte.
  • Ojalá que tú me aceptes.
  • Ojalá que vos me aceptes.

Imperative mode (commands) with VOS

However, verbs in the imperative mode, the one we use to give commands, aren’t the same for vos and tú. Verbs conjugated for the pronoun vos keep an accent at the end. See the examples below:

  • Come tus vegetales.
  • Comé tus vegetales. 

For irregular verbs in the imperative mode, there are more changes. 

INFINITIVOVOS
hacerhazhacé
tenertentené
decirdidecí
ponerponponé
irveandá

As you can see, the verb conjugations for vos keep the last vowel with an accent. The only verb that changes drastically for vos is the verb “ir” in the imperative mode. In Spain they say “ve”, but in Argentina we say “andá” (also from the verb “andar”).

Practice

Which one of these commands takes place in Argentina?

  1. Andá a casa, poné la ropa a lavar y hacé la tarea. 
  2. Ve a casa, pon la ropa a lavar y haz la tarea.

Take a few seconds to think.

1

2

3

The command that takes place in Argentina is A because the speaker says andá, poné and hacé.

Conclusion

To sum up, what is the vos form in Spanish? It is the use of the pronoun “vos” instead of “tú”. In Argentina we only use “vos”, but speakers still understand if you use the form “tú”. How is vos used in Spanish? It’s quite simple: leave the verb as it is but add an accent at the end in the present tense and commands. The only verbs that drastically change are “ser” in the present indicative, vos sos, and “ir” in the present imperative, vos andá. 

What do you think about the use of vos? Do you think it is necessary to learn it? Leave a comment below. 

Source: Speaking Latino

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