Direct object pronouns in Spanish: a black blackboard

How To Use Direct Object Pronouns In Spanish

Hola!

Are you struggling with direct object pronouns in Spanish? Then stay here and learn all you need to know about them!

Direct object pronouns in Spanish can be a bit tricky at first, but once you understand how they work, they can really help you communicate more efficiently in the language.

These little words replace nouns and make your sentences smoother and more concise.

With this guide, you’ll learn when to use them, how to form them, and even some common mistakes to avoid.

By the end, you’ll be a pro at using direct object pronouns in Spanish!

1. What Are Direct Object Pronouns?

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

But, what is a direct object in Spanish language?

They are nouns or noun phrases onto which the verb acts directly.

For example:

  • Toco la mesa. – I touch the table.

The table is directly touched by me.

Direct object pronouns in Spanish: Example sentence of touching a table with a finger
  • Amo a mis hijos. – I love my children.

My children are the object of my love.

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
  • Who do I love? (¿A quién amo?)a mis hijos / my children

Direct object pronouns replace these nouns or noun phrases when we have already mentioned them in an utterance, and we want 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.
  • Amo a mis hijos. Los amo con toda mi alma.– I love my children. I love them with all my heart.

Notice that when the object is a person, we need to use the personal preposition a in front of it.

There are more direct object pronouns in Spanish than there are in English.

That’s because Spanish DO pronouns have to agree in gender and number with the object that they are replacing.

Let’s learn the pronouns and check some Spanish direct object pronoun examples.

Example sentences with Spanish direct object pronouns

Subject pronounDirect object pronounExample
Yo
I
Me
me
Juan me quiere. – John loves me.

You
Te
you
¡Te espero en casa! – I’ll wait for you at home!
Usted (formal)
you
Lo / la
You
Encantado de conocerlo, Juan. – Nice to meet you, Juan.   Encantado de conocerla, María. – Nice to meet you, María.
Él
He
Lo
him
Lo invité a mi fiesta. – I invited him to my party.
Ella
She
La
her
La vi esta mañana. – I saw her this morning.
Él/ella (cosas)
It
Lo / la
it
Compré un carro. – Lo compré.
I bought a car. – I bought it.
Compré una casa – La compré.
I bought a house – I bought it.
Nosotros / Nosotras
We
Nos
us
Nos miró con cariño. – He looked at us with affection.
Vosotros / Vosotras (Spain)
Plural you
Os
you
Os quiero mucho. – I love you a lot.
Ustedes (LatAm)
Plural you
Los / las
you
Los quiero mucho, Juan y Pedro. – I love you a lot, Juan and Pedro.
Las quiero mucho, amigas. – I love you a lot, my friends.
Ellos
(Masculine they)  
Los
them
¿Ves estos panqueques? Los preparé esta mañana.
Do you see these pancakes? I prepared them this morning.
Ellas
(Feminine they)
Las
them
¿Ves esas galletas? Las preparé esta mañana.
Do you see these cookies? I prepared them this morning.

2. How To Use Spanish Direct Object Pronouns In Sentences

Unlike English, Spanish direct object pronouns must precede conjugated verbs:

  • Amo a Juan. – I love Juan.
  • Lo amo. – I love him.
  • Quiero esa falda. – I want that skirt.
  • La quiero. – I want it.
  • Te esperaré. – I’ll wait for you.

BUT!

Spanish direct object pronouns are attached at the end of infinitives, gerunds, and imperatives.

Look!

  • Quiero comprar esa falda. – I want to buy that skirt.
  • Quiero comprarla. (Infinitive) – I want to buy it.
  • Estoy limpiando mi casa. (Gerund) – I’m cleaning my house.
  • Estoy limpiándola.– I’m cleaning it.
  • Come toda la comida.(Imperative) – Eat all your food.
  • Cómela toda.– Eat it all.

Notice that in the case of the gerund and the imperative, a written accent must be added in the third to last syllable: limpiándola, cómela.

3. How Native Speakers Place Direct Object Pronouns In Sentences

Now, whenever a sentence has a cluster of both a conjugated verb and an infinitive or gerund, we can choose to place the direct object pronoun either in front of the conjugated verb or attached at the end of the infinitive or the gerund.

Look at the action of the verb in these sentences!

  • Quiero comprar esa falda. – I want to buy that skirt.
  • Quiero comprarla. (infinitive + pronoun) – I want to buy it.
  • La quiero comprar. (pronoun + conjugated verb) – I want to buy it.
  • Estoy limpiando mi casa. (gerund) – I’m cleaning my house.
  • Estoy limpiándola. (gerund + pronoun) –  I’m cleaning it.
  • La estoy limpiando. (pronoun + conjugated verb) – I’m cleaning it.

4. Indirect And Direct Object Pronouns In Spanish

Spanish native speakers constantly use direct and indirect object pronouns. Indirect object pronouns in Spanish are words that replace a noun or a phrase that indicates to whom or for whom an action is done.

An indirect object pronoun in Spanish can be singular or plural, depending on the number of people or things involved. Using indirect object pronouns in Spanish, you can create many different expressions and phrases.

Indirect object pronouns usually come before the verb in Spanish, except when the verb is in the infinitive, gerund or imperative form. In those cases, they can be attached to the end of the verb.

Direct object pronouns Spanish: cleaning wooden floor with a sponge
Estoy limpiándola. (gerund + pronoun) –  I’m cleaning it.

Spring Languages (a new Language Learning platform I co-founded) also has excellent articles of direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish.

Previously, I wrote about both of the object pronouns in Spanish, now let’s check out direct vs indirect object pronouns in Spanish in a separate article.

5. Practice Section – Fill In The Blanks For Direct Object Pronouns In Spanish

You will be presented with a series of questions, each containing a sentence missing a direct object pronoun. Your task is to select the correct pronoun!

Remember, the direct object pronoun must match the gender and number of the noun it is replacing.

Let’s get started!

Are you ready to take your Spanish language skills to the next level? Practice makes perfect, and these full Spanish practice worksheets are just what you need to sharpen your abilities.

With a variety of exercises and activities covering grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to reinforce your knowledge and build your confidence.

Don’t miss out on this chance to enhance your language abilities. Get your hands on these full Spanish practice worksheets today!

6. Spanish Chunking Starter Pack Can Help You To Remember Direct Object Pronouns In Spanish

Direct object pronouns in Spanish are words that replace a noun or a phrase that receives the action of the verb.

They can help you avoid repetition and make your sentences more concise and clear.

To use them correctly, you need to know their forms, their position in the sentence, and their agreement with the gender and number of the noun they replace. By practicing with examples and exercises, you can master the use of direct object pronouns in Spanish and improve your communication skills.

The best way to start using them in conversations is by learning some popular Spanish chunks.

If you’d like to learn more about how to learn Spanish without memorizing word lists and grammar rules, I recommend you get your Spanish Chunking Starter Pack here:

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