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Spanish direct vs indirect object pronouns

12 Apr, 2017 Popular Articles
Spanish direct vs indirect object pronouns3 votes. 4.33 / 5

Object pronouns are defined as pronouns that serve as objects in sentences (the object to which the action is being done in a sentence). And since they act as objects, these pronouns receive the action of the subject in the sentence. In this article, we will see the definition of direct and indirect object pronouns, different forms of direct and indirect pronouns, how to identify and how to use them correctly.

Direct vs indirect object pronouns Spanish

1. Direct object pronouns Spanish

Definition: A direct object pronoun is a pronoun that replaces the direct object noun in a sentence which can be a person or a thing.

Related lessons:

Different forms of direct object pronouns in Spanish

SubjectSingularPlural
First personMe (me)Nos (us)
Second personTe (you - informal)Os (you - informal)
Third person

Lo (it, him - masculine) (you - formal)

La (her - feminine) (you - formal)

Los (them - masculine) (you - formal)

Las (them - feminine) (you - formal)

Direct object pronouns replace direct object nouns which can be a person

Example:

Llamaron a mi mama - They called my mother

becomes

La llamaron - They called her

Direct object pronouns replace direct object nouns which can be a thing

Examples:

Sandra tiró la pelota - Sandra threw the ball

becomes

Sandra la tiró - Sandra threw it

Juan tiene la pluma - John has the pen

becomes

Juan la tiene - John has it.

Estoy comprando unos zapatos - I am buying some shoes

becomes

Los estoy comprando - I am buying them

So the direct object answers the question “what”/”whom” regarding to what the subject in the sentence is doing.

Direct object pronouns Spanish and examples

Examples of Spanish direct object pronouns 

2. Indirect object pronouns Spanish

Definition: An indirect object pronoun is a person or a thing for whom/to whom an action or something is done.

For example:

Jenny is writing a letter to her father.

In this sentence, “Jenny” is the subject, “is writing” is the verb, “a letter” is the direct object.

And “father” is the indirect object since he is the person for whom the action “write” is being performed.

So you could say:

Jenny is writing a letter to him.

And in this sentence, “him” refers to Jenny’s father. The indirect object noun has been replaced by a pronoun.

Different forms of indirect object pronouns in Spanish

SubjectSingularPlural
First personMe (to/for me)Nos (to/for us)
Second personTe (to/for you - informal)Os (to/for you - formal)
Third personLe (to/for it, her, him, formal you)Les (to/for them, formal you)

Examples:

Gabriel le compró una rosa a Anita - Gabriel bought a rose for Anita

becomes

Gabriel le compró una rosa - Gabriel bought a rose for her

Samuel le tiró la pelota a Juan - Samuel threw the ball to Juan

becomes

Samuel le tiró la pelota - Samuel threw the ball to him

Examples of indirect object pronouns Spanish

Forms and examples of Spanish indirect object pronouns

Here are some verbs that usually take a person as an indirect object in Spanish.

  • comprar(le) algo - to buy something for someone
  • contar(le) algo - to tell something to someone
  • dar(le) algo - to give something to someone
  • decir(le) algo - to say something to someone
  • escribir(le) algo - to write something to someone
  • mandar(le) algo - to send something to someone
  • mostrar(le) algo - to show something to someone
  • pedir(le) algo - to ask something of someone
  • regalar(le) algo - to give (a gift) to someone
  • servir(le) algo - to serve something to someone
  • traer(le) algo - to bring something to someone

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