Spanish neuter article “lo”

The Spanish neuter article “lo” is much less frequent than the masculine and feminine forms (“el”, “la”). However, it has a couple of relevant uses we need to study. 

In this lesson, we will go through the following points:

1. “Lo” meaning “the thing” or “the things”

The article “lo” serves as a substitute for “la cosa” (the thing) or “las cosas” (the things). It makes the sentences shorter and more efficient:

La cosa importante es estudiar mucho
Lo importante es estudiar mucho.

Both sentences mean “The important thing is to study a lot”.

La cosa más bonita es el centro de la ciudad.
Lo más bonito es el centro de la ciudad.

Both mean “The most beautiful thing is the city center”.

No entiendo las cosas que dices.
No entiendo lo que dices.

“I don’t understand what you say (the things you say)”.

La cosa que quiero es jugar.
Lo que quiero es jugar.

What I want (the thing I want) is to play. 

2. “Lo” meaning “how” to emphasize

We can use “lo” before and adjective or and adverb in sentences that emphasize a quality, meaning “how”:

Es increíble lo inteligente que eres.
It’s incredible how intelligent you are.

Me gusta lo despacio que hablas.
I like how slow you talk. 

3. Direct Object Pronoun “Lo”

This lesson is about the neuter article “Lo”. But there is another “Lo” in Spanish, which is not an article, but a Direct Object Pronoun. Click here for our lesson about Direct Object Pronouns.

4. Practice: An Exercise

In this exercise, the sentences in every pair should mean the same. Fill the gaps in your mind of on a piece of paper using the neuter article “lo”. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.

Me gustan las cosas exóticas.
Me gusta ___ _____ (1)

Hemos hecho la cosa más difícil del mundo.
Hemos hecho ___ ___ _____ (2) del mundo.

El anillo es la cosa más cara en esta joyería.
El anillo es ___ ___ _____ (3) en esta joyería.

¡Es la mejor cosa!
¡Es ___ _____ (4)!

A Francisco le interesan todas las cosas religiosas.
A Francisco le interesa ____ ___ ______ (5).

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = lo exótico, 2 = lo más difícil, 3 = lo más caro, 4 = lo mejor, 5 = todo lo religioso