Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish

Indirect Object Pronouns (“Pronombres de Complemento Indirecto”) are a collection of pronouns which point to the person or thing to whom or for whom the action of the verb is done.

Here is the full list with the Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish and their meaning in English:

SpanishEnglish
meme
tesingular you
lehim, her, it, formal singular you
nosus
osplural you
lesthem, formal plural you

Use

As we said, these pronouns point to the thing or person receiving to whom or for whom the action of the verb is done. Here are some example sentences:

– ¿Me has mandado la carta? = Have you sent me the letter?

– Sí te he mandado la carta. = Yes, I have sent you the letter.

 

Le doy un beso = I give a kiss to him/her.

 

Nuestra madre nos cuenta un cuento = Our mother tells us a story.

 

¿Qué os han dicho? = What have they said to you?

 

Les llevo bebidas = I bring drinks to them.

 

Placement

In all of the examples above, the Indirect Object Pronouns goes right before the verb. That is their most usual placement, but it depends on the tense of the verb. There are tenses for which the pronoun is attached at the end of the verb. To study that more in depth please read this post with a full explanation on the placement of Direct, Indirect and Reflexive pronouns.

 

A bit more on the third person forms: “le, les”

Something very interesting occurs with the third person forms of the Indirect Object Pronouns: “le, les”. Which is: Even if you explicitly mention the person to whom or for whom the action is made, you can still use the pronoun “le” or “les” on top of it. Not only you can, but it sounds more natural that way.

Take these two sentences in English:

  • I tell her a story.
  • I tell Maria a story.

In English, either you say the person directly (“María”) or you replace her with the pronoun “her”. But in Spanish, for the third persons, it sounds better to say “le” even if you also mention the person:

I tell her a story. = Le cuento una historia.

I tell María a story. = Le cuento una historia a María

 

One more example of this:

We buy them a ball = Les compramos una pelota.

We buy the children a ball = Les compramos una pelota a los niños.




Verbs that often use Indirect Object Pronouns

Here are some verbs that tend to use Indirect Object Pronouns, because they refer to actions that are done to someone or for someone:

SpanishEnglish
Comprarto buy (for someone)
Contarto tell (someone)
Darto give (someone)
Mandarto send (to someone)
Mostrarto show (to someone)
Pedirto ask (of someone)
Prestarto lend (someone)
Quitarto take away (from someone)
Regalarto give a present (to someone)
Robarto steal (from someone)
Enseñarto teach / to show (someone)

 

Finally, Indirect Object pronouns are also the ones we use with verbs like “Gustar”.

Click here to check out our post about “Gustar”.

Or click here to check out our post about other verbs like “Gustar”.

 

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