Spanish Direct Object Pronouns (“Pronombres de Complemento Directo”) are a collection of pronouns which point to the person or thing that receives directly the action of the verb.
In this post we will learn all about Direct Object Pronouns, going through the following points:
Table of Contents
1. Spanish Direct Object Pronouns: Forms
Here is the full list of Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish and their meaning in English:
te singular you
lo, la him, her, it, formal singular you
os plural you
los, las them, formal plural you
2. Use of Direct Object Pronouns
Direct Object Pronouns point to the thing or person directly receiving (not doing!) the action of the verb.
¿ Me quieres?
Do you love me?
Sí, te quiero.
Yes, I love you.
La tengo en mi casa.
I have it at home. (here “it” refers to something feminine singular, it could be a table for example).
Laura nos conoce.
Laura knows us.
We see you guys.
Los he perdido.
I have lost them (here “them” refers to something masculine plural, it could be books)
3. Placement of Direct Object Pronouns
In order to place Direct Object Pronouns in a sentence, we need to consider the tense of the verb they are connected to.
Depending of the verb tense, these pronouns can occupy 2 different places:
- Right before the verb, written separately
- Attached at the end of the verb
1 – Right before the Verb, written separately
This is the most frequent case. It happens when the verb is conjugated for any tense with the exception of Infinitive, Gerundio and Affirmative Commands.
Marta lo sabe.
Marta knows it (present tense)
¿Te han invitado?
Have they invited you?
No me mires.
Don’t look at me. (negative command)
2 – Attached at the end of the Verb
We attach these pronouns at the end of the Verb when that verb is in Infinitive or Gerundio, or it is an Affirmative Command.
Es importante estudiarlos bien.
It is important to study them well (infinitive)
Ella está besándome.
She is kissing me (gerundio)
Do it! (affirmative command)
Special case: With two Verbs combined – Either before the first or attached after the second
In the case where there are 2 verbs combined as a “team”, with the second verb’s form being Infinitive or Gerundio, we have the freedom to choose: We can either place the pronouns before the first verb, or attached at the end of the second one.
Both these sentences mean “I want to do it”:
Lo quiero hacer.
Both these sentences mean “Ana is bothering me”:
María me está molestando.
María está molestándome.
Both these sentences mean “We want to invite you guys”:
Os queremos invitar.
Both these sentences mean “we have to fix it”:
La tenemos que arreglar.
Tenemos que arreglarla.
More about Placement
If you want to learn about how Direct Object Pronouns coexist in a sentence with other pronouns (specially with Indirect Object Pronouns), Click here to learn more about the Placement of Direct, Indirect and Reflexive pronouns.
4. Practice: A Quiz
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge!
5. Practice: An Exercise
In the following dialogs, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Direct Object Pronouns (in some case, attached to a verb). Then check the solutions at the end of this post.
Álvaro, ¿tienes mi móvil?
Sí, _____ (1) tengo.
¿Sabes la respuesta a esta pregunta?
No, no _____ (2) sé.
¿Has puesto las tijeras sobre la mesa?
Sí, _____ (3) he puesto ahí.
¿Quieres leer estos libros?
Sí, quiero __________ (4).
Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = lo, 2 = la, 3 = las, 4 = leerlos