Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish

Pronombres de Objeto Directo

Newton stated that ‘to every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary reaction’. Well, the same (kind of) applies to Spanish grammar when it comes to a certain group of pronouns. In fact, gustar introduced us to indirect object pronouns (IOP), which identify the person/people affected by the action that the verb performs.

Indeed, they answer the questions to whom? or for whom?. To prove Newton’s law, there also exists a symmetrical category of pronouns whose purpose is to inform of the person(s) or object(s) that receive the action of the verb, thus answering the questions whom? or what?. These are called direct object pronouns (DOP).

 

E.g.: comes la manzana. →  LA comes.

You eat the apple. → You eat it.

 

Here is the full list:

 

SUBJECT PRONOUNS DIRECT SUBJECT PRONOUNS ENGLISH DOP’s
yo ME me
TE you (sing.)
él LO him/it
ella LA her/it
nosotros/nosotras NOS us
vosotros/vosotras OS you all (plur.)
ellos LOS them
ellas LAS them (fem. plur. only)

 

With the exception of third person DOP’s, all others are the same as their respective IOP’s. Moreover, we note that English presents an equivalent category of direct object pronouns, although there are a couple of oddities.

First, we must remember that lo, la, los and las refer to both people and things.

Now, since all nouns in Spanish have gender, when replacing a singular unanimated noun in the sentence that has a grammatical function of an object, we use lo or la depending on its gender.

E.g.: La bebo con hielo y pajita (la cola = fem. sing.). → I drink it with ice and a straw.

Lo tomamos después de comer (el café = masc. sing.). → We take it after lunch.

 

Additionally, word order in Spanish changes when it comes to DOP’s as they are placed before the verb rather than after as it occurs in English, while subjects are often omitted.

 

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Mi amiga me llama todos los días. → My friend calls me every day.

Pedro la ama perdidamente. → Pedro loves her hopelessly.

Nos siguen. → They follow us.

Os vi cruzar la calle ayer. → I saw you crossing the street yesterday.

Los haré esta tarde (los deberes = masc. plur.) → I will do it this evening.

 


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