Portuguese Grammar Reference ("QuickGrammar")
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>>Portuguese Pronouns > Reflexive Pronouns

The reflexive pronouns direct the action of any phrase back to the subject. In these sentences, the subject and object are the same, as in I washed myself.

A reflexive pronoun can stand in for any one of the subject pronouns.

Reflexive Pronouns

singular Portuguese English
1st person me myself
2nd person te yourself (tu)
3rd person se himself, herself,
1st person nos ourselves
2nd person vos yourselves
3rd person se themselves,

The pronoun se is especially useful because it stands in for ele, ela, vocÍ, o senhor, a senhora, ele, elavocÍs, os senhores and as senhoras (refer to the subject pronouns). Apart from se, these pronouns exactly parallel the direct object pronouns and the indirect object pronouns.

All reflexive pronouns can have an indirect meaning as well, as in he gave it to himself (you will still use se to mean to himself).

The verbs that you commonly use with these pronouns are called reflexive verbs. In a dictionary, you will see a reflexive verb listed with a final -se, such as lavar-se to wash oneself. In Portugal, you may begin a phrase or sentence with  eu me lavo I wash myself (where the I is stressed), but you must use the form lavo-me when you do not wish to stress the subject pronoun eu. In Brazil, both eu me lavo and me lavo are accepted, but lavo-me sounds both slightly literary and European. The QuickGrammar also includes more rules on the specifics of using pronouns with verbs, and how these constructions differ in Brazil and Portugal.

When you are not looking to direct the action of a verb back to the subject, but need a stressed pronoun like myself after a preposition, you will use the appropriate prepositional pronoun followed by the word mesmo, meaning same.

Reflexive Prepositional Pronouns

singular Portuguese English
1st person mim mesmo myself
2nd person ti mesmo yourself
  vocÍ mesmo yourself
  o senhor mesmo,
a senhora mesma
3rd person ele mesmo, ela mesma himself, herself
3rd person (general) si mesmo himself, herself, itself,
1st person nůs mesmos ourselves
2nd person vůs mesmos yourselves
2nd person vocÍs mesmos yourselves
2nd person os senhores mesmos,
as senhoras mesmas
3rd person eles mesmos,
elas mesmas
3rd person (general) si mesmos themselves, yourselves

Your questions about all of these pronouns are answered in the section on prepositional pronouns.

Mesmo is an adjective, so it changes to match the number and gender of each pronoun. The masculine plural form mesmos complements the masculine plural os senhores, the feminine singular form mesma complements the feminine singular ela, and so on. The adjective mesmo should always reflect the person or people that the pronoun represents in both number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine). A mim mesmo means to myself, para ela mesma means for herself, and estar contente contigo mesmo means to be happy with yourself.

These reflexive prepositional pronouns are not treated as a special set in Portuguese, partly because they match the standard prepositional pronouns, but also because mesmo places a similar intensified focus on other words. The phrase agora mesmo means right now (agora now), and aqui mesmo translates right here (aqui here).