Sentir vs Sentirse (to feel)

In Spanish we use the verb sentir to express "to feel" but there are two forms: sentir or sentirse

1. Sentir 

We use sentir to say that you feel "something". In this case you will generally find a noun after the verb, acting as a direct object. 

Cada vez que veo esa película siento escalofríos.
Every time I see that movie it gives me the shivers. (lit: I feel the shivers)

Ella siente pena por la gente pobre.
She feels sorry for poor people. (lit: feels pity)

Sometimes, that noun can be accompanied by other words like articles and adjectives:

Sentimos mucha alegría cuando la vemos.
We feel very happy when we see her. (feel lots of joy)

Siento una gran necesidad de abrazarte.
I feel I really need to hug you. (lit: feel a great necessity)

And sentir can also be followed by a subordinate clause with "que":

Siento que mi marido y yo nos alejamos.
I feel that my husband and I are drifting apart.

2. Sentirse

When we use sentir with reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, se), we are talking about "how" we feel, not what we feel. 

It can be followed by an adjective, which must agree like all adjectives with the subject.

Me siento emocionada por la generosidad de la gente.
I feel emotional because of people's generosity.

Rafael se siente mareado. ¡Trae un vaso de agua!
Rafael is feeling dizzy. Bring a glass of water!

You can also see an adverb after sentirse:

 

Mis padres se sienten estupendamente en su nueva casa.
My parents feel great in their new house.

And you can see "como" (like) after the verb:

Nos sentimos como dos idiotas después de la estafa.
We feel like two idiots after the scam.

In Spanish:

Sentir = to say "what" you feel.
Siento mucha emoción
I feel a lot of emotion.

Sentirse = to say "how" you feel.
Me siento emocionada.
I feel emotional. 

Remember that sentir is a stem-changing verb in El Presente

 

Examples and resources

Siento una gran necesidad de abrazarte.
I feel I really need to hug you. (lit: feel a great necessity)


Cada vez que veo esa película siento escalofríos.
Every time I see that movie it gives me the shivers. (lit: I feel the shivers)


Siento que mi marido y yo nos alejamos.
I feel that my husband and I are drifting apart.


Mis padres se sienten estupendamente en su nueva casa.
My parents feel great in their new house.


Me siento emocionada por la generosidad de la gente.
I feel emotional because of people's generosity.


Ella siente pena por la gente pobre.
She feels sorry for poor people. (lit: feels pity)


Sentimos mucha alegría cuando la vemos.
We feel very happy when we see her. (feel lots of joy)


Nos sentimos como dos idiotas después de la estafa.
We feel like two idiots after the scam.


Rafael se siente mareado. ¡Trae un vaso de agua!
Rafael is feeling dizzy. Bring a glass of water!


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