Grammar Tip – Spanish Object Pronouns
Spanish Object pronouns placement
In Spanish there are two groups of object pronouns, direct and indirect ones. As noted previously, when a sentence features a single object pronoun (either direct or indirect) alongside a single conjugated verb, the pronoun is placed before said verb. Now, let’s find out what happens when there are two verbs or two pronouns.
Firstly, here’s a reminder of both groups of object pronouns.
|Direct Object Pronouns||Indirect Object Pronouns|
|me (me)||me (to/for me)|
|te (you)||te (to/for you)|
|lo (him)||le (to/for him)|
|la (her)||le (to/for her)|
|nos (us)||nos (to/for us)|
|os (you lot)||os (to/for you lot)|
|los (them)||les (to/for them)|
|las (them – feminine only)||les (to/for them – feminine only)|
Let’s look at some examples:
Me encanta el español. → I love Spanish.
Las limpio enseguida (las zapatillas). → I clean them right away (the trainers).
María le compró un libro. → María bought him a book.
María lo compró para Dani. → María bought it for Dani.
Dani le dio las gracias. → Dani thanked her.
Dani lo leyó en un semana. → Dani read it in a week.
When a sentence contains a conjugated verb followed by an infinitive (-ar, -er, -ir) or gerund (-ando/-iendo), there are two options as to where to place the object pronoun: it can either go before the conjugated verb, as seen before, or it gets attached to the second verb to form a single word.
|Necesito beber agua.||La necesito beber./Necesito beberla.|
|I need to drink water.||I need to drink it.|
|Sara quiere abrazar a su sobrino.||Sara lo quiere abrazar./Sara quiere abrazarlo.|
|Sara wants to hug her nephew.||Sara wants to hug him.|
The same applies when a sentence features two pronouns, that is a direct pronoun and an indirect one together. They can either precede the main verb or get added to the second one; however, the indirect object pronoun MUST always come before the direct one.
Here are some examples:
|Mi padre va a enviar el correo a mí.||Mi padre me lo va a enviar./Mi padre va a enviármelo.|
|My dad is going to send the email to me.||My dad is going to send it to me.|
|Rosario no puede contar la verdad a ti.||Rosario no te la puede contar./Rosario no puede contártela.|
|Rosario can’t tell the truth to you.||Rosario can’t say it to you.|
It must be also noted that when the indirect object pronouns le and les are combined with any direct object one, they change to se for pronunciation purposes.
|El perro trae el palo a su dueño.||El perro
|The dog brings the stick to his owner.||The dog brings it to him.|
|¿Puede dar las llaves a tus hermanas?||
|Can you give the keys to your sisters?||Can you give them to them?|
Exceptionally, object pronouns are always placed right after the affirmative form of the imperative in Spanish.
¡Me di! = ¡Dime! → Tell me! ¡Lo di! = ¡Dilo! → Say it! ¡Me lo di! ¡Dímelo! → Say it to me!