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Object pronouns in Spanish

Object pronouns are essentially the equivalent of English me, him, her etc as in he saw me, they gave him a pencil.

It's common to categorise objects into direct and indirect, where indirect is the rough equivalent of the "recipient" in sentences such as I gave them a book. (We'll refine this definition later, but if you're new to the term indirect object, it gives you an idea.)

As a basic overview, the object pronouns in Spanish are generally as follows:

Equivalent subjectDirect objectIndirect object
usted (masc)
him, it; you
(to) him/her/it/you
usted (fem)
her, it; you
nosotros, -asnos
vosotros, -asos
ustedes (masc)
(to) them/you
ustedes (fem)

Notice how some of the pronouns differ depending on whether they're direct or indirect (roughly speaking, whether or not they mean, say, "to him/her", as opposed to just "him/her"). However, some of the pronouns don't have distinct direct/indirect forms. So the Spanish word te, for example, could mean you as in either "I saw you", or "I gave you the book".

There are some complications we havne't mentioned yet. But if you follow this schema, and learn the occasional exception for a few verbs, then you will genreally form sentences that will be considered grammatical by most Spanish speakers. And it's unlikely that anyone in an exam will accuse you of picking the "wrong" pronoun.

Position of Spanish object pronouns

In general, Spanish object pronouns are placed directly before the verb1. For example:

me preguntó si...
he asked me if...
no te conozco
I don't know you
lo vi ayer
I saw him yesterday
lo hago hoy en la tarde
I'll do it this afternoon
la veo mañana
I'm seeing her tomorrow
nos vio ayer
he saw us yesterday
os doy el libro mañana
I'll give you the book tomorrow
Feedback Suggest a change / Cambios sugeridos

Next: practise using object pronouns

On the next page, you can practise using some of these object pronouns. In fact, the ones you'll practise initially are just me, te and nos. These pronouns are arguably most similar in their usage to English pronouns. However, the Spanish word order is still different to English, as shown above. So the exercise will get you used to the Spanish word order with pronouns.

 Spanish object pronouns exercise

1. A complication we'll see later is that these pronouns can't come before non-conjugated forms of the verb: in other words infinitives, imperatives, gerunds and past participles. Formally, these object pronouns are usually analysed as being clitics: a type of prefix/suffix attached to the verb, a bit like English n't.

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