Reciprocal verbs in Spanish and position of the reflexive pronoun

Reciprocal verbs, i.e those that express an action that two or more people perform to each other, contain a reflexive pronoun (only the plural forms).

Have a look at the following examples:

Nosotros nos abrazamos mucho.We hug each other a lot.

¿Tú y Marta os conocéis?Do you an Marta know each other?

Los vecinos se ayudaban cuando podían.The neighbours helped each other when they could.

Ustedes se comunican por email, ¿verdad?You communicate with each other via email, don't you?

You will always find these plural reflexive pronouns with reciprocal verbs: nos, os, se

Reciprocal verbs work in the same way other reflexive verbs do in terms of the position of the pronouns with conjugated verbs, infinitives, gerunds and imperatives. 

With an infinitive or a gerund the pronoun can be placed:

1. Right after and attached to the verb 

Podemos escribirnos mientras estás en Alemania.We can write to each other while you are in Germany.

¿Están ustedes entendiéndose?Are you understanding each other?

2. In front of the whole verbal structure, not in the middle

¿Se están ustedes entendiendo?Are you getting along (with each other)?

¿Están se ustedes entendiendo? 

Nos podemos escribir mientras estás en Alemania.We can write to each other while you are in Germany.

Podemos nos escribir mientras estás en Alemania.

 With an imperative the pronoun can only be placed right after and attached to the verb

¡Casaos en la catedral!Marry each other in the cathedral!

We sometimes reinforce the reciprocity adding "el uno al otro" or "mutuamente" to the sentence. For example:

Julián y Alberto se respetan. 
Julián y Alberto se respetan el uno al otro.
Julián y Alberto se respetan mutuamente.

Julian and Alberto respect each other.

See also Conjugate in El Imperativo with reflexive pronouns (affirmative commands) and Conjugate reflexive verbs in El Presente (present tense).

 

Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nos podemos escribir mientras estás en Alemania.We can write to each other while you are in Germany.
Ustedes se comunican por email, ¿verdad?You communicate with each other via email, don't you?
¿Están ustedes entendiéndose?Are you understanding each other?
¿Se están ustedes entendiendo?Are you getting along (with each other)?
Los vecinos se ayudaban cuando podían.The neighbours helped each other when they could.
Nosotros nos abrazamos mucho.We hug each other a lot.
¡Casaos en la catedral!Marry each other in the cathedral!
Podemos escribirnos mientras estás en Alemania.We can write to each other while you are in Germany.
¿Tú y Marta os conocéis?Do you an Marta know each other?
Getting that for you now.