Direct and Indirect object pronouns in Spanish

Direct and indirect object pronouns

Object pronouns -direct and indirect object pronouns- substitute the noun. In English these are 鈥榤e鈥, 鈥榟im鈥, 鈥榟er鈥 and so on. For example, in the sentence 鈥楪ive Sam the pen,鈥 Sam is a noun, which can be changed to 鈥楪ive her the pen.鈥 In Spanish the pronoun either comes before the verb as a separate word or after joined with the verb, when are used with affirmative imperative, an infinitive or a gerund. For example:

Le da el boli (he is giving her the pen).

Voy a darle el boli (I am going to give her the pen).

鈥楧ale el boli鈥 (give her the pen).

Estoy d谩ndole el bol铆 (I am giving her the pen).

Object pronouns in Spanish

Direct and indirect object pronouns

驴Puedes hacerme una tostada? (Can you make me a toast?)

Os llamo mana帽a (I will call you tomorrow).

Te gusta este libro? (Do you like this book?)

Direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish

As you can see object pronouns are a little more complicated in Spanish and that is because they change depending on whether you are referring to the direct or indirect object. Direct and indirect objects are nothing to be afraid of 鈥 you have them in English.

How direct and indirect objects work

The majority of sentences have two objects. The direct object is the noun or pronoun on the receiving end of the action for example, 鈥楶ass me the pen鈥 鈥 it is the pen here that is receiving the action (by being passed around). The indirect object is the person or entity for whom you are doing the action.

In the above sentence the indirect object is 鈥榤e鈥. Another way to say this would be 鈥楶ass the pen for me鈥. In English indirect objects are often indicated with the prepositions 鈥榝or鈥 or 鈥榯o.鈥 For example, 鈥楨xplain the problem to us鈥 鈥 the problem is the direct object while 鈥榰s鈥 is the indirect object. With pronouns this is 鈥楨xplain it to us.鈥 In the Spanish equivalent of this sentence the direct object is signified with 鈥榣o鈥 and the indirect with 鈥榥os.鈥 So it would be 鈥榚xpl铆camelo鈥 鈥 The indirect object goes first followed by the direct (or in other words 鈥lo鈥 and 鈥la鈥 go at the end). Explain to him the problem would be 鈥楨xpl铆cale el problema.鈥

The LE, LO, LA rule

If I were to say in Spanish (Give them to them) I would end up with 鈥Daleslas.鈥 These are far too many 鈥榣鈥 words for comfort. To avoid the Repetition of all those 鈥榣鈥 sounds 鈥le鈥 and 鈥les鈥 change to 鈥se鈥 when paired with 鈥lo,鈥 鈥la鈥, 鈥los鈥 or 鈥las.鈥 So the above sentence would be 鈥楧谩selas.鈥 More examples 鈥楨xpl铆caselo鈥 (explain it to her). 鈥楶rest谩rselo鈥 (lend him/them it).

Remember you can contact you tutor with any question you have about direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish. Don’t you have a personal Spanish tutor yet? Also you can try our workshop about personal pronouns. Now, it is time to practice what you have learned with our quizzes.

3 comentarios en 芦Direct and Indirect object pronouns in Spanish

  • el a las
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    Muy buen ejercicio. Muxchas gracias. Lo 煤nico es que en la frase tres falta el auxiliar del pret茅rito perfecto para que la frase quede completa. (Me lo ha regalado …)

  • el a las
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    Much铆simas gracias, Laura. Ya est谩 corregido.

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