What Does “Vosotros” Mean in Spanish and Should You Use it

Vosotros means “y’all” or “you guys” in English. It’s the informal form of saying you (plural) in Spain Spanish.

In English, there is only one way of saying you. In Spanish, there are several options for saying you depending on the number of people you are talking to and the situation.

  • If you are talking to one person you know well, use . If you don’t know them well, use usted.
  • If you are talking to more than one person you know well, use ustedes. If you don’t know them well, use vosotros or vosotras.
  • In Latin America, replace vosotros and vosotras with ustedes.


That’s the TL;DR version for vosotros. If you are interested in digging a little deeper, keep reading for more about what is vosotros, when to use it, and how to conjugate verbs when using vosotros.

In Latin America, people hardly ever use vosotros. But if you plan to visit Spain and want to sound like a local, it’s essential to get the hang of it. Using vosotros instead of ustedes is one of the little things that sets European Spanish apart from Latin American Spanish.


Before we delve into the meaning of vosotros in English, let’s take a moment to review what are pronouns and how they function in English and Spanish. This will help us lay a strong foundation for understanding vosotros in Spanish.

Pronouns are words that are used to replace or refer to nouns in a sentence. They function as substitutes for nouns to avoid repetition, make sentences more concise, and to maintain clarity in communication. Pronouns can be divided into different categories such as personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and more.

Personal Pronouns in English

Singular Plural
First person I we
Second person you you
Third person he / she / it they

Personal pronouns in Spanish

Singular Plural
First person yo nosotros & nosotras
Second person tú /usted vosotros & vosotras / ustedes (formal)
Third person él & ella ellos & ellas

As you can see from the tables above, unlike several European languages including Spanish, English does not differentiate between the second-person singular and plural pronouns. This is because of some gradual changes in the history of English. However, we can still see some informal distinctions of in English dialects around the world like y’all in American English and you guys in British English.

Spanish uses a special pronoun ustedes to show politeness and formality, like when talking to someone older than you or to someone in power. So in Spanish, use (informal “you”) to talk to your close friends, but to talk to your boss, use usted (formal “you”).


What is Vosotros

Now you probably understand what does vosotros mean in Spanish. Vosotros is simply the informal second-person plural pronoun used to address a group of people you are familiar with or have a close relationship with. It is the equivalent of “you all” or “y’all” in English. If you’re referring to only female plural subjects, use vosotras instead.

If we dig a little deeper, you’ll see vosotros actually combines vos (y’all) and otros (others). Can you see the link between different European languages – vocês in Portuguese, vous in French, voi in Italian, вы in Russian? This way, it’s easier to remember the meaning of vosotros, right?

When to Use Vosotros – Vosotros vs Ustedes

Now you may ask, vosotros sounds like such an important pronoun, but how come I didn’t learn it in my Spanish textbook?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. In Latin American Spanish, people don’t use vosotros. Vosotros is only used in Castilian Spanish in Spain. In Latin America, if you want to refer to a group of people, you always use the ustedes form. This is true whether you are talking to your best friends or your boss. So if you are learning Latin American Spanish, go ahead with ustedes and don’t confuse it with vosotros.

However, if you plan to visit Spain or communicate with Spaniards, knowing how to use vosotros can help you sound more like a local and blend in. Simply speaking, in Spain, people use vosotros instead of ustedes in informal settings. Ustedes, on the other hand, is only reserved for formal situations like when addressing leaders, superiors, professors, etc.

Just remember, vosotros is like y’all, and you should only use it under these three conditions: 1. You’re in Spain, 2. in informal situations, and 3. addressing more than 1 person.

Vosotros Conjugation

Vosotros requires different verb conjugations based on the verb’s ending (–ar, -er, -ir).

The basic verb endings for vosotros are -áis/éis/ísThe table below shows how verbs conjugate according to different tenses. We have another article about Spanish verb conjugation in general if interested.

Infinitive Present Simple Preterite Imperfect Future Conditional
ar -áis -asteis -abais -aréis -aríais
er éis -isteis -íais -eréis -eríais
ir -ís -isteis -íais -iréis -iríais

Some example sentences using vosotros conjugation:

  • Podéis elegir cualquier cosa del menú. (You all can choose anything from the menu.)
  • Sois mis amigos. (You all are my friends.)
  • ¿Qué queréis hacer? (What do you all want to do?)

What about irregular verbs? Here is how to conjugate irregular verbs in vosotros form.

Verb Vosotros Form (Present Simple)
ser sois
estar estái
hacer hacéis
tener tenéis
querer queréis
poner ponéis

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2 months ago

Hi folks, …..I’m a new (lifetime) member and I’m loving it. Quick note here I believe you have a mistake in the ustedes/vosotros text. Paragraph 2 point 2 – i think it’s back to front.

But a great product, hope you all the success

2 months ago

my dad payed 475$ aus for that

2 months ago

Sorry guys shouldn’t it be estáis instead of estái?

2 months ago

Hi guys, I think you made a mistake: “If you are talking to more than one person you know well, use ustedes. If you don’t know them well, use vosotros or vosotras.” Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Anyways keep it going 👍

22 days ago

In Canary Islands we dont use “vosotros”, we use “Ustedes”