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Direct And Indirect Object Pronouns In Spanish: The Ultimate Guide + Examples

Direct and indirect object pronouns Spanish: They can be a nuisance when we don’t quite understand when and how to use them.

Here’s the most complete guide to grasping what these direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish mean, where they are placed in the sentence, and how to use them together.

Let’s first clarify what direct and indirect objects are!

1. What Is A Direct Object Pronoun In Spanish?

Direct object pronouns are pronouns that replace the direct object (DO) in a sentence.

But, what is a direct object?

It is a noun or noun phrase upon which the verb acts directly. To easily find the direct object in a sentence, we need to ask the verb What? or Who?

  • What do I touch? (¿Qué toco?) – la mesa / the table

Spanish direct object pronouns replace these nouns or noun phrases so as to avoid repetition:

  • Toco la mesa. La toco para ver si está limpia. – I touch the table. I touch it to see whether it is clean.

Take a look at this excellent video from the Spring Spanish website's YouTube channel.

Spring Spanish website is a platform that helps you learn Spanish with a method called Conversation Based Chunking. It's part of Spring Languages, a website I co-founded and would help you to learn new languages.

2. What Is An Indirect Object Pronoun In Spanish?

The indirect object (IO) is the noun or noun phrase in a sentence that is affected by the action performed upon the direct object. In this case, the question that we must ask the verb is To whom?

Look!

  •  El niño regala bombones a su maestra. –  The boy gives chocolates to his teacher.

Remember the questions to the verb?

  • ¿Qué regala el niño? – bombones (OD) – What does the kid give? – chocolates (DO)
  • ¿A quién regala chocolates? – a su maestra (OI) – To whom does he give chocolates? – to his teacher (IO)

Indirect objects can also be replaced by pronouns, of course.

Look!

  • El niño regala bombones a su maestra. – The boy gives chocolates to his teacher.
  • El niño le regala bombones. – The boy gives her chocolates.

Let’s compare direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish. Notice that in the column of IO pronouns, the DO of the verb has been underlined.

Compare Spanish direct and indirect object pronouns

Subject pronounDirect object pronounIndirect object pronoun
Yo
(I)
Me
Me quiere mucho. – He loves me a lot.
Me
Me compró un regalo. – He bought me a present.

(you)
Te
Te quiero mucho. – I love you a lot.
Te
Te llevaré un pastel. – I’ll take you a cake.
Usted
(you)
Lo
Lo llamaré, Diego. – I’ll call you, Diego.
Le
Le diré la verdad, Manuel. – I’ll tell you the truth, Manuel.
Él
(he)
Lo
Lo miró fijamente. – She stared at him.
Le
Le dio una respuesta. – She gave him an answer.
Ella
(she)
La
La escuchó atentamente. – He listened to her attentively.
Le
Le pidió permiso. – He asked her for permission.
Él / ella
(it)
Lo / la
Compré pan. Lo compré en la tienda.
– I bought bread. I bought it at the store.
Compré carne. La compré allí.
I bought meat. I bought it there.
Le
Le quité el polvo (a la mesa). – I dusted it off. (the table)
Le quité el polvo (al coche). – I dusted it off. (the car)
Nosotros / Nosotras
(we)
Nos
Nos llamarán. – They’ll call us.
Nos
Nos trajo chocolates. – He brought us chocolates.
Vosotros / Vosotras
(plural you, Spain)
Os
Os espero esta tarde. – I’ll wait for you this afternoon.
Os
Os he preparado la cena. – I’ve prepared dinner for you.
Ustedes
(plural you, LatAm)
Los / las
Los llamaré, chicos.
– I’ll call you, guys.
Las llamaré, chicas. – I’ll call you, girls.
Les
Les dije la verdad, chicos. – I told you the truth, guys.
Les dije la verdad, chicas. – I told you the truth, girls.
Ellos
(masculine they)
Los
Los buscó su mama. – Their mum looked for them.
Les
Su mama les compró un juguete. – Their mum bought them a toy.
Ellas
(feminine they)
Las
Las admiro mucho. – I admire them a lot.
Les
Su mama les mostró los regalos. – Their mum showed them the presents.

3. Direct And Indirect Object Pronouns Spanish: Placement In Sentences

Both direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish must be placed immediately after a conjugated verb, and attached at the end of infinitives, gerunds, and imperatives.

  • Me gusta ese coche. Lo compraré.  – I like that car. I’ll buy it.
  • Quiero comer pizza. La prepararé.  – I want to have pizza. I’ll make it.
  •  ¿Te trajo algo?  – Did she bring you something?
  •  Les haré la comida.  – I’ll cook food for them.

 BUT!

INFINITIVE:

  • Si te gusta el coche, debes comprarlo.  – If you like the car, you must buy it.
  • ¿Quieres contarnos tu secreto? – Would you like to tell us your secret?

GERUND:

  • Como quería pizza, estoy haciéndola. – As I wanted pizza, I’m making it.
  •  Continúas haciéndome enojar. – You keep making me angry.

IMPERATIVE:

  • Si quieres pizza, prepárala. – If you want pizza, make it.
  • Enséñame las fotos del viaje. – Show me the photos of your trip.

Also, don't forget that there are other specific pronouns in Spanish. One of these are reflexive pronouns in Spanish. This might be a great time to check them out!

4. How To Use Spanish Direct And Indirect Object Pronouns Together

Sometimes, both a direct and an indirect object co-occur in a sentence:

Direct and indirect object pronoun in a sentence

Lecompraréa mi hermanaun regalo de cumpleaños.
IOVerbIODO

In English, this would look like: 

I’llbuymy sistera birthday present.
VerbIODO

5. LE vs SE In Spanish Language

If we need to replace both the Spanish direct and indirect objects in the sentence, then the DO pronoun comes after the IO pronoun, and before the conjugated verb.

Also, the indirect pronoun “le” becomes “se” to avoid cacophony.

Let´s see some examples:

  • Le compraré a mi hermana un regalo de cumpleaños. – I´ll buy my sister a birthday present.
  • Le compraré un regalo de cumpleaños. – I’ll buy her a present.
  • Lo compraré a mi hermana. – I’ll buy it for my sister.

Le lo to Se lo means that the indirect object pronoun le changes to se when it is followed by the direct object pronoun lo

Le lo compraré.I’ll buy it for her.
Se lo compraré.I'll buy it for her.
Direct and indirect object pronouns Spanish: A present with a pink ribbon.
Le compraré a mi hermana un regalo de cumpleaños. – Se lo compraré. (I´ll buy my sister a birthday present. – I'll buy it for her.)
  • Yo haré la torta para mi hermana. – I’ll make the cake for her.
  • Yo la haré para mi hermana. – I’ll make it for my sister.
  • Yo le haré la torta. – I’ll make the cake for her.

Le la to Se la means that the indirect object pronoun le changes to se when it is followed by the direct object pronoun la

Yo le la haré.I’ll make it for her.  
Yo se la haré.I’ll make it for her.  

6. Practice Section – Fill In The Blanks For Direct And Indirect Object Pronouns In Spanish

Practice using direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish with this fill-in-the-blank exercise.

In each sentence, a direct or indirect object is indicated in parentheses, and you must choose the correct direct or indirect object pronoun to fill in the blank.

Test your knowledge with these five sentences that cover a range of common situations.

  1. Mi hermana _____ (me/le/los) compró un regalo para mi cumpleaños. – My sister bought me a gift for my birthday.
  2. Ellos _____ (te/lo/la) invitaron a la fiesta. – They invited you to the party.
  3. Yo _____ (te/le/los) dije la verdad. – I told you the truth.
  4. ¿Compraste _____ (ellos/la/lo) en la tienda de ropa? – Did you buy it at the clothing store?
  5. ¿Quieres que _____ (le/te/los) ayude con la tarea? – Do you want me to help you with the homework?

1. me, 2. te, 3. te, 4. lo, 5. te.

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Our full Spanish practice worksheets are here to help! With a variety of exercises and activities, these worksheets provide comprehensive practice on grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and more!

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7. Learn Spanish Direct And Indirect Object Pronouns With CBC Starter Pack

To sum up, direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish are words that take the place of a noun or a phrase that is the object or the beneficiary of the verb’s action.

I hope direct and indirect objects pronouns in Spanish are now clear to you!

If you would like to learn more about the object pronouns and receive other conversation tips, check out our CBC (Conversation Based Chunking) Starter Pack below!

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