The Spanish indirect object pronouns are me, te, le, nos, os, les.
Le and les become se when they are combined with the direct object pronouns lo, la, los, las.
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Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns
These are the indirect object pronouns of the Spanish language (English translation included):
• me (for/to me)
• te (for/to you)
• le (for/to him, her, you, it)
• nos (for/to us)
• os (for/to you [plural, Spain])
• les (for/to them, you [plural, LatAm])
• se (for/to him, her, you, it, them)
By the way, I created a video attempting to explain the indirect object pronoun se with no explanations.
Here it is! (Just in case you want to watch it.)
Alright, here’s all you need to know about me, te, le, nos, os, les, and se.
What Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns Are
Use Spanish indirect object pronouns to express for whom/what or to whom/what the action of the sentence is done or performed.
Let’s see some examples.
• ¿Has hablado con tus padres?
• Have you talked to your parents?
• No, pero les escribí una carta.
• No, but I wrote them a letter.
What did I write? Una carta ( a letter). To whom? Les (them).
Remember, indirect object pronouns are used to express to whom or what (or for whom or what) something is done.
In the conversation above, les is the indirect object pronoun, and it makes reference to the parents.
Object pronouns are used to get rid of unnecessary repetition. Let’s see another example!
• La ensalada está picante.
• The salad is spicy.
• Le eché pimienta.
• I added pepper to it.
What did I add? Pimienta (pepper). To what? Le (to it).
Le is the indirect object pronoun of the second sentence, and it refers to the salad.
To have an indirect object in a sentence, there must be a direct object. It can either appear in the sentence or be implied.
In the sentence Le eché pimienta. Pimienta is the direct object, and le is the indirect object.
Let’s talk about each of the Spanish indirect object pronouns in more detail!
The Pronouns Me, Te, Nos and Os
The object pronouns me, te, nos, os can be used to replace direct and indirect objects.
• Élla me pinta. (me as a direct object)
• Ella me pinta un paisaje. (me as an indirect object)
In the first sentence, I mean that I am being portrayed by a painter.
The second example means that a painter is making a painting for me.
The pronouns me, te, nos, os are not ambiguous. They refer to I, you, we, you [all] correspondingly.
• Ana te mandó una carta.
• Ana sent you a letter.
• Ana nos mandó una carta.
• Ana sent us a letter.
• Ana os mandó una carta.
• Ana sent you [all] a letter.
On the other hand, it can be hard to know what le and les refer to out of context. Let’s learn more about these pronouns!
The Pronouns Le and Les
The Spanish indirect object pronouns le and les can be translated into different ways in English.
Le means to you [formal], to him, to her, and to it.
Since there’s no way to know the meaning of le out of context, it is usually accompanied by a little phrase that clarifies its meaning.
• Sara le prepara la comida a usted.
• Sara prepares the food for you.
• Sara le prepara la comida a él.
• Sara prepares the food for him.
• Sara le prepara la comida a ella.
• Sara prepares the food for her.
• Sara le prepara la comida al perro.
• Sara prepares the food for the dog [it].
• Sara le prepara la comida a Pedro.
• Sara prepares the food for Pedro.
• Sara le prepara la comida a su esposo.
• Sara prepares the food for her husband.
Les means to them and to you [all]. A phrase is usually used to clarify its meaning.
• Sara les escribe una carta a ustedes.
• Sara writes a letter for you all.
• Sara les escribe una carta a ellos.
• Sara writes a letter for them [a group of men or men and woman].
• Sara les escribe una carta a ellas.
• Sara writes a letter for them [a group of women].
Indirect Object Pronoun Placement
Place indirect object pronouns before conjugated verbs, except for imperative statements that are positive.
• To write to her/him/you
• Writing to her/him/you
When you have two verbs in a sentence, you can either place the indirect object pronouns before the conjugated verb, or you can attach it to the end of the second verb.
• Le quiero escribir.
• I want to write to her/him/you.
• Quiero escribirle.
• I want to write to her/him/you.
If you need to use a direct and indirect object pronoun in the same sentence, use the following pattern: indirect object pronoun + direct object pronoun.
• Me gusta tu camisa. ¿Me la prestas?
• I like your shirt. Can you lend it to me?
When object pronouns are placed after the verb, they become one word.
• Leave me.
• Leave it to her/him.
Verbs that Take Indirect Object Pronouns
The following verbs take both, direct and indirect objects.
• cobrar dinero (to charge money)
• comprar algo (to buy something)
• decir algo (to say something)
• contestar (to answer)
• preguntar (to ask)
• cocinar algo (to cook something)
• contar (to tell)
• dar (to give)
• enseñar (to teach)
• enviar algo (to send something)
• hacer (to do)
• prestar (to lend)
• vender (to sell)
Do you have questions about indirect object pronouns? Feel free to drop me a line. I’ll be happy to clarify any doubts.
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