Grammar Tip – Spanish Object Pronouns

Spanish Grammar Tip

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 le lo trae. → El perro se lo trae.
The dog brings the stick to his owner. The dog brings it to him.

 

¿Puede dar las llaves a tus hermanas?

¿Les las puedes dar? → ¿Se las puedes dar?

¿Puedes darleslas? → ¿Puedes dárselas?

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.

E.g.: ¡Me di! = ¡Dime!  → Tell me!

¡Lo di! = ¡Dilo! → Say it!

¡Me lo di! ¡Dímelo! → Say it to me!


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