vosotros/ ustedes. what is the difference?

Hi everyone,

I am new to learning spanish. Can anyone explain what the difference between vosotros/as and ustedes is?

thank you.

April 4, 2017


"tú", "usted", and "ustedes" are universal ways to say "you" - they are acceptable in all countries:

  • tú = thou
  • usted = vuestra merced = your mercy (along the line of "your majesty", "your highness", etc.)
  • ustedes = vuestras mercedes = your mercies

"vos" and "vosotros" are regional ways to say "you":

  • vos = tú (obviously related to "vous" in French)
  • vosotros = vos otros = tú y otros = (you and others)

"vos" is a singular form more or less equal to "tú" that is used in many parts of the Americas, but not in Spain. (as far as I know, "vos" is usually not addressed in textbooks written for English-speakers)

"vosotros" is a plural form used in Spain, not the Americas

April 4, 2017

hi intelengua, thank you for your reply. I like that you explained that vosotros means you and others. gracias

April 6, 2017

Ustedes means "you all"

Vosotros means "you all" but replaces ustedes in Spain. So vosotros replaces ustedes ONLY when you are speaking with people from Spain, Latin America uses ustedes.

Vosotras means the same as Vosotros, but is with a group of ONLY females

April 4, 2017

Ustedes is used in Spain for formal address. If for example you were talking to your friend's grandparents whom you had just met, you would use ustedes. True enough in Spain, they move to informal more quickly than in Latin American, but both ustedes and vosotros are used.

April 4, 2017

hi matthew, so if i understand correctly, vosotros and ustedes mean the same. you use vosotros when you speak to spanish people? and you use ustedes when you speak to people from latin america? thanks for you explanation

April 6, 2017

Yes, they pretty much mean the same thing, but are different due to how the language evolved in different places, so if you plan to visit Spain, then you may wish to learn the different conjugations for vosotros too

April 6, 2017

As usted is formal "You" Ustedes would be like you all. I like to think of vosotros as y'all, since you wouldn't say "Hey y'all!" to a group of professionals!

April 4, 2017

la spaniards usan la palabra vosotros y el americano's usan la palabra ustedes

April 6, 2017

thanks, that makes it clear!

April 6, 2017

"Usted" and "Ustedes", third person, is more polite, less colloquial.


Tú eres estúpido = you are stupy.

Usted no es muy inteligente = you aren't very intelligent.

Usually "usted" is for unknown people or higher rank. Using the "tú", is "tutear", and only for people with enough trust.

April 4, 2017
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