Tuning in to Spanish

Usted vs Tú

One of the most dificult aspects of learning another language is knowing when to be formal or informal in conversation with somebody. Since in English "you" can be used to talk to your friends in an informal maner, or to your professor or boss in a formal way, you don't need to think much about using that particular pronoun. In Spanish, however, there is an important difference between using ("you" informal) and usted ("you" formal). When do you think you use "tú" in Spanish? With your friends or with your superior? Would you use "usted" with your mother? What pronoun would you use when talking to a salesperson? "Tú" or "Usted"?

While there is a common denominator of using "Usted" versus "Tú" in Spanish, there are important differences in the use of these two pronouns depending on what country or what city you are from. Listen to the following explanations of the use of "Usted" and "Tú" in our friends' countries.

Vocabulario Útil

rango jerárquico
hasta cierto punto
cuando era chico

to use "tú"
to show
you all
hierarchical level
to a certain point
when I was a kid



Mi familia

Mi ciudad, mi país

El trabajo

Los pasatiempos

Los viajes

Usted vs Tú


Si yo fuera rico

Ud vs Tú 1: Gustavo y Eder (Colombia)
Ud vs Tú 2: Alejandro (México)
Ud vs Tú 3: Sylvia y Ninfa (Argentina y Cuba)