Spanish subject pronouns are a used a bit differently than their English counterparts are. In English, personal subject pronouns are necessary to indicate who or what is the subject of the sentence. In Spanish, the verb form alone often contains sufficient information to indicate who the subject of the sentence is. Because of this, it is entirely grammatically correct to omit the subject pronoun of a sentence altogether. Native Spanish speakers frequently do just that, reserving the use of subject pronouns for situations that require greater clarity or emphasis.
The Subject Pronouns
Omission, Clarity, and Emphasis
As mentioned above, the verb ending usually makes the subject clear. For example, if you want to say the Spanish equivalent of “I am well,” you can simply say Estoy bíen. Using the first-person present form of the verb estar (the Spanish equivalent of “to be” used when talking about location or physical and mental health) indicates that you are referring to yourself.
You would primarily use a subject pronoun for clarity (usually when employing the verb forms corresponding with usted, él, ella, ustedes, ellos, and ellas) or in situations where you feel additional emphasis is necessary.
¿Cómo está usted?
How are you?
¿Cómo está ella?
How is she?
¿Yo? Yo estoy bíen.
Me? I am fine.
You: Familiar vs. Formal Forms
Tú, the singular familiar form of “you,” is only used when speaking with family and close friends. Vosotros and vosotras are normally only used as the familiar plural in Spain. In other Spanish speaking areas, including Latin America, ustedes is used as both the familiar and formal plural of “you.”
Note: A personal pronoun is rarely included when “it” is the subject of a sentence. In fact, ello, the direct Spanish equivalent of “it,” is rarely used period. The inclusion of a pronoun indicating a singular inanimate object is often simply unnecessary, or a concept equivalent to the usage of “it” in English is expressed in a different way.