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Usted and Tu

I am really confused. I am not sure of the difference of usted and tu. Is it just the context or are they completely different things? Thanks for your help!

3 years ago

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Delta1212
Delta1212
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It's formality thing that's not uncommon in European languages but that died out in English. You use tu with friends and close family, and usted with strangers and elders and generally people you'd show respect to.

Usted is formal. Tu is informal.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lingophilic

You are correct.

However, I was going to say that English used to have a formal "you". Actually, it was you. The informal way to address someone was thou, but that died out and you became the way to address people.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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I'd like to add that the use does differ from country to country. In Northern Mexico, at least, Usted seems to be reserved for only VERY formal situations (child to teacher, maybe employee to boss a couple of levels higher, college student to professor, but not to teaching assistant) From my observations, tú is used between clerk and customer, people you have just met, acquaintances, almost everyone..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jcragun

I generally find that if you were to refer to someone as 'sir' or 'madam' you should use the formal. Otherwise, tu.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

This should go in the Spanish forum. Going to move it there.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shannonaz

what one you on spanish

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paradoxmo
paradoxmo
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People have already covered the semantic difference (formality), but also you should be aware that there's a grammatical difference as well. Tú goes with the second person conjugations, but usted goes with the third person conjugations. So you use the same forms with "usted" as you do with "él" or "ella", which can get confusing (especially with "su" something... it is "your" or "his" or "her"?).

3 years ago