Lesson 5: Direct object pronouns

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38. Object Pronouns / Los pronombres de complemento

Direct object (English object pronouns) Indirect object
him, her, it, you (Ud. form)
you (plural) [in Spain]
them, you (Uds. form)
Direct objects: what? or whom? Indirect objects: to/for whom?
I did…(what?) I did my homework. I did it.
Hice la tarea. La hice.
I did (for whom?) I did her homework for her.
Le hice la tarea (a ella).
I saw…(whom?) I saw the doctor. I saw him.
Vi al doctor. Lo vi.
I said (to whom?) I told that to Juan. I told him.
Le dije eso a JuanLe dije.

• Spanish places object pronouns immediately before a conjugated verb. The object pronoun eliminates the need for the personal a:
¿Conoces al abogado? Sí, lo conozco, pero no le debo nada. ¡No te creo!

• When these pronouns are the object of an infinitive or a gerund, they are joined to the end (written accents may be added according to the general rules explained in §3):

Al verla, supe que la amaba.
Escribiéndoles, te entenderán mejor.
Upon seeing her, I realized I loved her.
By writing to them, they’ll understand you better.

• Thus, object pronouns may either precede the conjugated verb or be attached at the end of the infinitive or gerund (but they can never come in between):

No me quieres creer. ~ No quieres creerme.
Siguieron buscándolo ~ Lo siguieron buscando.
Le voy a dar un regalo ~ Voy a darle un regalo.

PRÁCTICA 38A.  Sustituya los complementos directos por su pronombre correspondiente.

PRÁCTICA 38B.  Sustituya los complementos indirectos por su pronombre correspondiente.

PRÁCTICA 38C.  Escriba el orden alternativo para cada oración.

• When used together, indirect object pronouns precede direct object pronouns (the exact opposite of the usual English order):

Nos los entregó a tiempo (los mensajes).
Quiero mandártelo / Te lo quiero mandar (el mensaje).
She delivered them to us on time.
I want to send it to you.

• When the first pronoun of the two would be le or les, it changes to se (sing. or plural):
Se lo quiero explicar antes de enseñárselo. I want to explain it to her before showing it to her.

• As there frequently is ambiguity with the third person, clarify with a ellas, a usted, etc.:

Ella le escribe a él; yo le escribo a ella.
No le quiero pedir un favor a usted.
Se la mandé a él primero.
She is writing to him; I am writing to her.
I don’t want to ask you a favor.
I sent it to him first.

PRÁCTICA 38D.  Sustituya todos los complementos posibles por sus pronombres correspondientes.

• Spanish prefers to use the indirect object pronouns even when the indirect object is mentioned:

Le estoy escribiendo al jefe.
¿Por qué no le pides dinero a tu hija?
I am writing to the boss.
Why don’t you ask your daughter for money?

~ Note the following verbs, which take certain prepositions in English, but not in Spanish (except for the personal awhen needed):

mirar: look at

buscar: look for

escuchar: listen to

pedir: ask for

robar: steal from

Miré al jugador y miré el campo. Los miré.
I looked at the player and at the field. I looked at them.Buscan a la abogada. La buscan.
They look for the lawyer. They’re looking for her.

Escuchamos música. La escuchamos.
We listened to music. We listened to it.

Pedí dos paellas. Se las pedí al mesero.
I asked for two paellas. I requested them to the waiter.

Le robaron el dinero. Se lo robaron.
They stole her money from her. They stole it from her.

PRÁCTICA 38E.  Exprese en español:

1. We were looking for you when you called us. Now we don’t want to talk about it.
2. We wanted to look at the documents with you, but it wasn’t possible.
3. We used to listen to music together, remember? Now I don’t even listen to it.
4. Why didn’t you ask your parents for money on Sunday? What was the problem?
5. I asked Peter if he knew what Mary’s address is, but he didn’t have it.
6. I asked the waiter for two pizzas, but he didn’t listen to me.