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Direct and Indirect Objects

Use of object pronouns.

Direct Objects
In Spanish, the direct object is the one that receives the action of the verb. The direct object can be either things or people. Ex.: Juan lee el peridico. (Juan reads the newspaper.)
S. V. Direct Object.

Mario cuida a su hijo.


S. V. Direct Object.

(Mario takes care of his son.)

Direct Objects
Typically, the direct object answers the questions Qu? or A quin?

Juan lee el peridico.


Qu lee Juan?
El peridico.

Mario cuida a su hijo.


A quin cuida Mario?
A su hijo.

Direct Objects
We can substitute the direct object with a pronoun.
(Juan reads the newspaper.) (Mario takes care of his son.)

Juan lee el peridico. Mario cuida a su hijo.

Juan lo lee.
(Juan reads it.)

Mario lo cuida.
(Mario takes care of him.)

Indirect Objects
The indirect object indicates who or what is the recepient of the action. It always goes with a preposition. It generally answers the questions A quin/qu? or Para quin/qu? Ex.: Juan lee el peridico a su abuelo.
S. V. Direct Object. Indirect Object.

Qu lee Juan? A quin lee Juan?

El peridico. A su abuelo.

Indirect Objects
In Spanish, some verbs are frequently used as indirect object constructions. Me gusta el helado. Te duele la cabeza? I like ice cream. Does your head hurt?

Other verbs that function similarly are: encantar, fascinar, aburrir, interesar, deprimir, molestar.

Position of the pronouns


Both direct object and indirect object pronouns go before the verb.

Juan lo lee. (D.O.)


Juan le lee el peridico a su abuelo. (I.O.) Juan le lee el peridico. (I.O)

Position of the pronouns


When we have a conjugated verb with an infinitive, we have two options to place the pronouns: l quiere leer el libro. (D.O)
l lo quiere leer. l quiere leerlo.

Ella necesita comprar ropa a sus hijos. (I.O)


Ella les necesita comprar ropa. Ella necesita comprarles ropa.

Position of the pronouns


When we have both types of pronouns in the same sentence, the indirect object is always placed before the direct object. Mi mam me mand un e-mail. Mi mam me lo mand. Ella te quiere comprar un regalo. Ella quiere comprarte un regalo. Ella te lo quiere comprar. Ella quiere comprrtelo.

When we combine the indirect object pronouns le or les with any direct object pronoun, they change to se. Juan lee el peridico a su abuelo. Juan le lo lee. X Juan se lo lee. Ella le quiere dar una sorpresa a l. Ella quiere darle una sorpresa. Ella le quiere dar una sorpresa. Ella se la quiere dar. Ella quiere drsela.

One last note