Wait, wait… are you saying that in Spanish there are so many pronouns to refer to someone? What happens in America? Which one do I have to choose to talk with my Spanish friends?
Welcome to the dark side of Spanish pronouns
Tú, vosotros, usted, ustedes vos… yeah, I know it. It can sound a bit confusing.
In Spain, we use tú in singular and vosotors y plural. In English, for example it doesn’t do this difference: you can say… por ejemplo… you are inteligent or you can say… you, two, are inteligent. In Spanish, however, we distinguish if its singular or plural.
But this is more tricky that it seems because in Spain, when we want to be polite and show respect with someone maybe because is older than us, because we don’t know who is it or maybe because he has a higher status in the society, we use USTED or USTEDES. Por ejemplo, if we want to show respect to a teacher, we will use USTED (but not in my case… I let you to use TÚ… personally, I feel old when a student use USTED).
However, in other parts of Spain, like the Canary Islands or in some regions of Andalucía, they use USTEDES instead of VOSOTROS not matter if they want to be polite or show respect to someone.
This use of TÚ and USTEDES is generalized in America, but there you can also find some American countries where it is just used USTED or USTEDES instead of TU/VOSOTROS because this is the only form that they use.
Do you want to get more confused? Well, in America, they also have a third use, that is called VOSEO. VOSEO consists in using VOS instead of TÚ or USTED and you will find speakers from Argentina, Uruguay or Guatemala that use just this form in singular.
Are you still there? Well, don’t stress. Just take into account that sometimes you can find Spanish speakers who use different ways to talk with you and that they are not necessary a mark of politness or respect. But, between you and me, as Spanish speaker form Spain, if you usted USTED a will feel a bit old, so… better use TÚ.