Indirect object pronouns in Spanish
Indirect object pronouns are used instead of a noun to show the person, thing or action is intended to benefit or harm. Below you can see the list of Spanish indirect object pronouns and some examples:
Estoy escribiendo a mis padres (I am writing to my parents).
Les estoy escribiendo (I am writing to them).
Compra un regalo a Marta (Buy Marta a present).
Cómprale un regalo (Buy her a present).
Differences between indirect and direct object pronouns
It is important to understand the difference between direct and indirect object pronouns in English, as they can have a different form in Spanish.
You can usually test if an object is a direct object or an indirect one by asking questions about the action using what and who:
- An indirect object pronoun who.. to? or who… for? equally what… to? or what… for?
He gave me a book = Who did he give the book to? = me (= indirect object pronoun).
Can you get me the towel? = Who can you get a towel for? = me (=indirect object pronoun).
- If something answers the questions what or who, then it is the direct object and not the indirect object. (see more about the direct object pronouns).
- Take into account that some Spanish verbs like mirar (meaning to look at), esperar (meaning to wait for) and buscar (meaning to look for) take a direct object pronoun because the Spanish constructions are different from English.
- The word order with indirect object pronouns is exactly the same that with the direct object pronouns.
Sofia te ha escrito (Sofia has written to you).
Dime la respuesta (Tell me the answer).
No me digas la respuesta (Don’t tell me the answer)
Te quiero decir algo (I want to tell you something).
Estoy escribiéndole (I am writing to him/her).