Using the verb “Poner”. “Poner” or “Ponerse”?

Using the verb "Poner". Should it be "Poner" or "Ponerse"?

Using the verb “Poner” is ofter a puzzle for students. The first question is clear, “teacher, is it “Poner” or “Ponerse”?” Well… it is both, it depends on the context and the struture you need in each case.

This is actually a full video lesson (podcast version with an exercise, transcripts, translation, and vocab word list available by clicking here).

Hey there, amigos! Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most versatile verbs in the Spanish language. So, what is “Poner” in Spanish? Well, it can mean a whole bunch of things, but at its core, it means “to put” or “to place”. But let’s dive a little deeper into its uses.


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Uses of Poner in Spanish

First things first, as a general explanation without getting into small details, “Poner” is a transitive verb, which means it needs an object to complete its meaning. In other words, you can’t just say “Poner” by itself and call it a sentence. You need to say what you’re putting or placing. For example, “Voy a poner la mesa” (I’m going to set the table).

“Poner” is used in a wide range of situations, from the mundane to the profound. You can use it to talk about putting on clothes (“Me pongo la camisa” means “I put on my shirt”, in this case is reflexive, “Ponerse”) to express how nervous someone makes you, “Mi hermana me pone nerviosa”. In this case is indirect object + “Poner”, it is not a reflexive verb. This is exactly what I will explain in detail during this video podcast.

Now, let’s talk about the conjugation of poner. Luckily, it’s an almost regular verb, so once you learn the pattern, you can use it. Here’s how it looks in the present tense:

  • Yo pongo (I put)
  • Tú pones (you put)
  • Él/Ella/Usted pone (he/she/you put)
  • Nosotros/Nosotras ponemos (we put)
  • Vosotros/Vosotras ponéis (you all put)
  • Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes ponen (they/you all put)

Difference Between “Poner” and “Ponerse”

Now, let’s talk about the difference between “Poner” and “Ponerse”. “Ponerse”is a reflexive verb, which means it reflects back on the subject of the sentence. In other words, when you use ponerse, you’re doing something to yourself. For example, “Me pongo contento” means “I get happy”.

“Ponerse”is also used to indicate a change in state or condition. For example, “se pone colorado” means “he/she turns red”. “Poner”, on the other hand, is more about the action of putting something somewhere.

“Poner” in Spanish: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Now, let’s talk about some common mistakes people make when using poner. One mistake is using “Poner” instead of usar (to use). For example, saying “pongo mi teléfono para mandar un mensaje” instead of “uso mi teléfono para mandar un mensaje”. Another common mistake is using “Poner “instead of “Ponerse”to talk about changes in state. For example, saying “pongo triste” instead of “me pongo triste”.

Poner vs. Ponerse

So, which one should you use, “Poner”or “Ponerse”? Well, it depends on what you’re trying to say. This is all explained in the video podcast. This article it is just a brief explanation of general cases. I get into the details in the video podcast.

Using the Verb Poner vs. Ponerse – Examples and Exercises

I try to make my video podcasts in a way that gives you various options for practice. One option is to watch the video, which can teach you something new, but since everyone has a different level of understanding and I don’t know you personally, you also have the option to click on the link below to access the practice version, which is a podcast. In this version, you’ll find exercises with examples about “Poner” and “Ponerse,” a transcript, an English translation, and a vocabulary list. So, you will find it by clicking here.. You can choose how to practice – it’s a complete and free video lesson. You could listen to just the podcast and then watch the video, for example, to test your listening comprehension before your grammatical comprehension on this topic 😉

Remember to pay attention to the context of the sentence and whether you’re talking about an action being done to yourself or to something else. With a little practice, you’ll be using these verbs like a pro. ¡Buena suerte!