What is the difference between usted and ustedes? Answered here!

What is the difference between usted and ustedes? 

If you are learning Spanish in school or trying to learn it by yourself you may be confused and wondering what is the difference between usted and ustedes.

If that is the case, then today I will lay out for you the difference between these 2 Spanish pronouns.

Also, later I will cover some basic examples using these in sentences.

On the previous article, we reviewed 2 major singular Spanish equivalents of “you” – Usted and Tú.

However, today I am going to help you to understand 2 things:

1) What is the difference between usted and ustedes? and..

2) How do you know when to use usted versus ustedes in Spanish conversations?

Now the first thing that you want to understand is that the pronoun “usted” is the formal form of “you“in English. When I say formal, I mean that usted is used as a sign of respect when addressing:

  • adults
  • elderly individuals
  • teachers
  • any superiors
  • individuals with authority or rank
  • someone that you don’t know / meet for first time
  • etc…

Got it? Okay great!

However, the Spanish pronoun”ustedes” is the plural form of “you“, sometimes rendered “you all”.

So, when do you use ustedes in Spanish conversation? Ustedes can be used for these groups types:

  • a group of all men
  • a group of all women
  • a mixed group of both men and woman
  • You + 3rd person;  (Example = You and Peter..)

Now that you know what is the difference between usted and ustedes and how they are typically used, now let’s look at some examples of these below.

For the purpose of this post, we will focus on a few Spanish verbs using present tense.

Examples:

¿Van ustedes a la playa? Are you all going to the beach?

Van ustedes tres al cine? Are you three going to the movies? or.. Are the three of you going to the movies?

¿Cuántos años tiene usted?  How old are you?

¿Comen ustedes arroz con pollo? Do you all eat rice with chicken? Or Are you all eating rice and chicken?

Usted y Pedro van a la biblioteca. You and Peter are going to the library.

Usted es muy buen bailador. You are a good dancer.

 

Now that you know the what is the difference between usted and ustedes, you can now start using these Spanish pronouns in conversations with native speaking in public.

If you are just starting to learn Spanish, something else that will help you to expand your vocabulary is to learn how to form the present participles in Spanish verbs.