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Published on: Grammar Bites

Reunir vs Reunirse

Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference between ‘reunir’ and ‘reunirse’? 

As it often happens in español, the answer is both ‘sí’ and ‘no’. Both verbs share some characteristics, but they also have distinct uses. Let’s take a look at some uses and equivalents:

Reunir is a transitive verb. This means that it needs an object; that is, the action of the verb is “done” to something or someone.

Reunir as to gather people: when we want to describe the action of getting people together for an activity or celebration, we use reunir.

  • Ella reunió a toda su familia para darles la buena noticia. She gathered her whole family to tell them the good news.
  • Ellos reunieron muchos voluntarios para la campaña. They brought together many volunteers for the campaign.

Reunir as to collect objects or data, to gather objects: when someone has the habit of collecting items or they collect something with a specific goal, we use reunir as well.

  • Mi abuela siempre reúne frascos vacíos para luego hacer conservas. My grandmother is always collecting empty jars to later make preserves.
  • Ellas reunieron suficientes firmas para presentar el proyecto de ley. They collected enough signatures to submit the new bill.

Reunir as to fulfill a requirement, to meet an objective: when discussing the requirements to achieve a goal, we also use this transitive verb.

  • Los futuros empleados deben reunir ciertos requisitos. All future employees must meet certain requirements.
  • Nosotros reunimos fondos para renovar el centro comunitario. We’re raising funds to renovate the community center.

On the other hand, reunirse is a reflexive (or reciprocal) verb. This means that the person performing an action (subject) is also the person receiving the effects of that action (object); that is, the action reflects back or has an effect on the subject.

Reunirse as to meet (up), to get together: when we discuss meeting up with other people, we use reunirse:

  • El sábado pasado mis amigos y yo nos reunimos por primera vez desde el inicio de la pandemia. Last Saturday my friends and I got together for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
  • Ella se reunirá con su jefa la próxima semana para discutir su ascenso. She’ll meet up with her boss next week to discuss her promotion.
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