Master DIRECT vs INDIRECT OBJECT Pronouns Spanish with Examples

Hello, I am Maura from Spring Spanish, and in this video, we will make a comparison between these pronouns to understand why they are confusing and how to use them.

Direct vs indirect object pronouns Spanish, here it comes!

Master DIRECT and INDIRECT OBJECT Pronouns in Spanish

Let’s get started!

1. What are Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish?

Before we start, let me tell you that we will focus on the comparison. We will only do a small review of these pronouns separately.

CARLA
Pásamelas.

(Pass them to me.)

MAURA
¿Qué cosa?

(What? (lit. What thing?)

CARLA
Las galletas.

(The cookies.)

MAURA
Ah, toma. No sabía de qué me estabas hablando. Son buenísimas. ¿Dónde LAS compraste?
(Ah, here. I didn’t know what you were talking about. They’re great. Where did you buy them?)

CARLA
Aquí al lado, en una tienda que abrieron recientemente.

(Right next door, in a store that recently opened.)

MAURA
¿LA que está en la esquina, que es como rosada?

(The one in the corner, which is kind of pink?)

CARLA
Esa misma.

(That same one.)

Direct object pronouns replace nouns that have already been mentioned.

master direct vs indirect object pronouns text on blue and orange background

For example:

Estas galletas son buenísimas. ¿Dónde las compraste?: “las” replaces “las galletas”. Note that these pronouns must agree in gender and number.

Yo no tengo su número de teléfono, pásamelo.: “lo” in “pásamelo” substitutes “su número de teléfono”.

Creo que la planilla está completa, pero revísala por si acaso.: “la” in “revísala” replaces “la planilla”.

2. What are Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish?

Indirect object pronouns reflect on whom the verb’s action is executed. For example:

Por favor cuéntales lo que pasó.: “les” in “cuéntales” refers to “ellos” or “ellas”.

They are especially used with verbs that need someone to act upon. Like: decir, dar, contar, explicar, devolver, acompañar.

Devuélveme mis anillos.: “me” in “devuélveme” refers to “a mí”.

MAURA
ME hubieras dicho que abrió. Yo estaba pendiente porque ME daba mucha curiosidad.
(You should have told me it opened. I was keeping an eye out because I was very curious.)

CARLA
Sí, es una tienda de productos internacionales. Tienen chuches de todas partes del mundo. No TE dije porque no sabía.
(Yes, it is a store of international products. They have snacks from all over the world. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t know.)

MAURA
¡Me encanta! Tengo que ir.
(I love it! I have to go.)

CARLA
Cuando quieras TE acompaño.
(Whenever you want, I’ll come with.)

To define the indirect object pronoun, you ask the verb: Whom are you acting upon?

3. Comparing Direct vs Indirect Object Pronouns Spanish

Similarities: Position

Both pronouns are positioned the same in a sentence.

They both go in front of conjugated verbs. Conjugated verbs are all those that do not end in -ar, -er, or -ir. For example:

Direct object pronoun: ¿Dónde están las llaves? ¡No las encuentro! “las” replaces “las llaves.” “Encuentro” is a conjugated verb, so the pronoun “las” goes in front.

Indirect object pronoun: Es mejor que le cuentes ya. “le” reflects whom we are talking about. “Le” has no gender so it could be “él” or “ella.”

Both types of pronouns are attached and behind infinitive verbs, those that end in -ar, -er, or -ir.

When you have two verbs, such as in these examples, option A would be: quiero conocerla or quiero dejarles. But you have the option to choose with which verb to join the pronoun. Option B would be joining the pronoun with the first verb, “quiero.”

With imperative verbs, orders, both types of pronouns are attached and behind the imperative verb as long as the sentence is affirmative.

If the order is negative, both pronouns must go in front of the imperative verb.

With continuous verbs ending in -ando / -endo (the -ing form in English), both pronouns are attached and behind:

Direct object pronoun: Estoy limpiando los platos. Estoy limpiándolos.

Indirect object pronoun: Están contándome lo que pasó.

Differences: Gender

These pronouns are the same word except when distinguishing gender. Indirect object pronouns do not distinguish gender, and direct object pronouns do.

Remember that direct object pronouns have gender and replace already mentioned nouns. Indirect object pronouns do not have gender and refer to the person on whom the verb acts.

When both pronouns are necessary, the indirect object pronoun comes first.

Es un secreto. Me lo contó a mí solamente.: “me” is the indirect object pronoun and means “to me”. “lo” is the direct object pronoun and replaces “el secreto”.

If the result of this mix is something like “le los” or “les las,” that’s your clue to use the indirect object pronoun “se.” If we want to say “pásale las fotos a Amanda,” the result would be:

Pásaselas or se las pasas a Amanda.: “se” means “to him” or “to her”. And “las” replaces “las fotos”.

4. Practice direct vs indirect object pronouns Spanish

Let’s do some practice so you can see them in action. Fill in the blank with one of the options:

Me encanta esta serie. ¿No _____ has visto?

A: lo
B: la
C: le

Respuesta: ¿No la has visto?. Usamos “la” porque es el único pronombre que puede sustituir a “la serie”.

Carla no llegó a tiempo porque _____ avisaron tarde.

A: la
B: lo
C: le

Respuesta: Carla no llegó a tiempo porque le avisaron tarde. Usamos “le” porque es el único pronombre que se refiere a la persona sobre la que actúa el verbo. Es decir, Carla, la persona a quien le avisaron.

No es culpa nuestra. Nosotras ________ advertimos a Amanda.

A: le lo
B: se lo
C: la lo

Respuesta: Nosotros se lo advertimos a Amanda. Recuerda que “le lo” o “la lo” no existen. El pronombre de objeto indirecto, que va primero, se transforma en “se” si eso pasa.

Don’t hesitate to check out Paulísima’s videos on these pronouns. I’m sure with those and this comparative video, you’ll be able to start using the pronouns today!

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