Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns 101: The Complete Guide | tell me in spanish (2023)

Whenlearning Spanish, you've probably seen or used the pronounsme, you, he, we,yA.These are indirect object pronouns in Spanish and are an essential part of speech. Simply put, indirect pronouns can help you sound more fluent because they make your sentences clearer and shorter.

Therefore, in this guide, we will learn how to use these pronouns. Here's an overview of what we'll cover:

  • What are indirect object pronouns in Spanish?
  • How to use indirect object pronouns
    • Duplication of indirect object pronouns
  • Indirect object pronouns with verbs like 'Gustar'
  • Order of indirect object pronouns in Spanish
  • Verbs that take indirect objects
  • Bonus: Using the indirect object pronoun Se instead of Le
  • key points
  • PDF for download
  • practical quiz

Let's do this, okay?

List of indirect object pronouns in Spanish

In Spanish, there are six main indirect object pronouns with a seventh alternative:

  • To me- To me
  • o- Tu (you informal)
  • Those*)– He/She/It/You (formal)
  • numbers- For us
  • Os– You (plural, spanish)
  • Those)*– They/You (plural)

*To use:opronoun if esonlyused to replaceaoAin sentences with double object pronouns. In other words, when a sentence containsbothdirect in third person(O o o o)and indirect object pronouns, we should useswindlerinstead of 'le' or 'les'. This change is made for semantic purposes.

How to Use Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish

like any otherspanish pronoun, Indirect object pronouns (sometimes abbreviated as IOP) serve a simple purpose:replacingan element within a sentence. Indirect object pronounsreplace the indirect object.

So what is an indirect object in Spanish and how do you find it?

In Spanish, the indirect object is the part of the sentenceaffected or benefitedby the action of someone (the subject). In other words, the indirect object is the person or thingfor or for whomthe action is done.

Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns 101: The Complete Guide | tell me in spanish (1)

Indirect objects in Spanish can be a noun, anoun phrasethe oneprepositional pronoun. To find it, you combine the questions."for whom"o"To whom"with the verb in your sentence. Let's look at these examples:

joe teacheschildrencounting.
joe teachesthe childrento count.

So, to find the indirect object in this sentence, we ask'Who does Joe teach?'The answer ischildren. This means that the sentence can use a plural indirect object pronoun:

JoseATo teach.
joe teachesthey.

Here is another example:

Charlie bought those chocolatesfor me.
Charlie bought those chocolates.for me.

'Who did Charlie buy these chocolates for?'For me(for me). So this is what this sentence will look like when replacing the indirect object:

Charlieto mebought those chocolates.
charlie boughtto methose chocolates.

KEY TIP:Check the example above. also has aDirect object(chocolate). Like this example, many Spanish sentences contain both types of objects. When this happens, you can find the indirect object by identifying the person or thing receiving the direct object.

i told john– Duplication of indirect object pronouns

oyAare the Spanish indirect objects for the third person. They replace the twofeminine and masculine nouns(things or people). As they can refer to many things,ayAcan be ambiguous if there is no background information.

To avoid this confusion, many Spanish phrases usedouble indirect objects.This means that instead of replacing, we use theindirect object and pronoun togetherfor further clarification:

oI gave a bookto my brother.
I boughtmy brothera book.

soniaathesefor Juanfrom party.
sonia told himJuanabout the party

Indirect object pronouns and verbs like Gustar

Affective Verbs in Spanish(verbs like 'like') convey that a thing or activityit affectsA person. Therefore, its conjugationAlways usean indirect object pronoun:

Leticiaathey like dogs.
Leticiahe likes dogs

To meto meannoying noise.
the noise bothersto me.

this phonenoit cost a lot of money.
This phone costsfor usa lot of money.

At first glance, affective verbs may seem strange. But in fact, affective verbs (verbs like gustar) are part of the set of verbs that receive indirect object pronouns. They have:

  • ONEsubject: the thing or action that causes a feeling (like the dogs in example #1)
  • ONEverb: the feeling (like eg)
  • indirect object: the person affected by the verb (Leticia)

Annotate:Structures with affective verbs do not always have a direct translation into English. Look at thislist of common verbs like gustar to find affective verbs that you will use in everyday situations.

Order of indirect object pronouns in Spanish

The correct order of indirect object pronouns in Spanish is:

  • Beforea conjugated verb

[indirect object pronouns] + [conjugated verb]

o I askedmoney for Carlos.
EUI askCarlos for money.

Nono had saidwhat to do.
YouI did not say for uswhat to do.

  • Adjunctoneaffirmative commands,infinitive verbs, ogerund:

Yto memy phone.
Butto memy phone.

What I mean to sayaI'm very sorry.
what I mean to sayyouI'm very sorry

Except for the perfect times, you have some flexibility with sentences withmore than one verb. That is, with this type of structures, one can place the pronounbeforethe conjugated verb orappend-it to the infinitive or the gerund. Both examples below are correct applications of where to place the indirect object pronoun:

oI will say tomorrow.
i will tell himit isMorning.

I will sayaMorning.
i will tell himit isMorning.

Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns 101: The Complete Guide | tell me in spanish (2)

Annotate:Some phrases can use hints anddirect object pronouns(called double object pronouns). In such cases, both pronouns must follow the placement rules above. However, theindirect object pronoun always goes beforeadirect object pronoun.

Sinceto mea, please.
Buthe our, please.

Se LosI sent Carlos.
I sentthey for Carlos.

Verbs that Take Indirect Objects in Spanish

In Spanish there are many verbs that can work with indirect objects. However, some of the most common Spanish verbs that take indirect objects are:

  • Advice- give advice
  • To warn- to warn
  • to warn– Warn / Advise
  • Comprar- Comprar
  • To say - To say
  • But - But
  • To say - say say
  • To teach- To teach
  • Explain- To explain
  • To speak - Talk Talk
  • Interest- Of interest
  • Court - Courts
  • To send- To send
  • To mark- To connect
  • To lie- To lie
  • Brother- Brother
  • Pay- Pay
  • mercado- Mercado
  • To take- To knock
  • provide– Loan / Loan
  • To postpone- Pull from
  • To recommend- To recommend
  • To bring- To bring

Annotate:Please note that some of theseverbs can also have a direct object. Sometimes using direct or indirect object pronouns slightly changes the meaning of the sentence. For example -I paid them(you paid something) vs.I paid them(you paid someone).

Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns 101: The Complete Guide | tell me in spanish (3)

Use of the indirect object pronounSeRather thano

Whenreplacing an indirect object,ayswindlerare the same pronoun.Seif oneinstead of 'he'only if a sentence hasbothThird-person direct and indirect object pronouns.


I bought some flowers anda lasI gave joy
I bought some flowers and gavetheythe joy.


I bought some flowers andswindler lasI gave joy
I bought some flowers and gavetheythe joy.

Usingswindlerrather thanayAThis is done for semantic purposes. This is becausehoyas well as its feminine and plural forms meansilly in spanish.

Annotate:In some sentences, thepronoun if can work as areflexive pronoun. In this case,swindlercommunicates that someone is performing an action on himself. If you were performing the actionin someone else, you must use an indirect object pronoun:

Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns 101: The Complete Guide | tell me in spanish (4)

key points

Indirect object pronouns in Spanish are crucial to speaking naturally and fluently. Here are the main points you should know:

  • The Spanish indirect object pronouns areme, you, you, we, you, them.
  • the pronounswindlerreplacesla lain sentences that also contain third-person direct object pronouns.
  • An indirect object is the part of speechaffectedobeneficiaryby the action of the subject.
  • the indirect objectrespondsfor the questions'for whom'o'To whom'(to whom or for whom) an action is performed.
  • Spanish indirect object pronouns must befolded upbeforethe conjugated verb in sentences with a verb,negative commands, or when perfect tenses are used.
  • Indirect object pronouns must beattached to affirmative commands,infinitives, youpresent participle.
  • Indirect object pronounsalways come beforedirect object pronouns.

Download PDF of Spanish Indirect Object Pronoun Cheat Sheets

Learning to use the indirect object pronoun in Spanish is one of the most difficult subjects in the Spanish language. So I've created a downloadable PDF of the cheat sheets for this guide, including the charts, rules, examples, and key points you'll need to revisit this topic whenever you need to catch up.

Download PDF

practical quiz

If you want to practice indirect object pronouns, you shouldtake this test.Good luck!

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