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LearningSpanish January 18, 2013 03:00 PM

Direct or Indirect Object Pronoun here?
I've been keeping my eye out for examples where the subjunctive can be replaced with the inifinitive (eg with mandar, dejar, hacer etc) and in such cases the indirect object pronoun seems common but I've also seen examples using the dops. Is there a grammar rule here or is it optional?


Does it have to be

Pablo y yo, les hicimos nadar.

Paul and I made them swim.

or should it be 'los'

Can it only be 'le' here and not 'la'?

El hombre le dejó salir.

The man let her go.

Le hice sentirse mal. or Lo hice sentirse mal.

I made him feel bad.

I'm leaning towards the indirect object pronouns myself as you're not making 'him' but making him 'feel bad' but I know I've seen the direct object pronoun too.

And what about when the infinitive isn't used but the subjunctive is, does that change things when it comes to and iop or a dop?

Sus padres no la/le dejan que salga sola.

Her parents don't let her go out alone.

Thanks in advance for your help

LearningSpanish January 20, 2013 12:32 PM

No takers? As an update, just in case anyone else wonders about this in the future I've since been told by a very knowledgeable grammarian that there is no hard and fast rule and either the iop or dop is acceptable, although it seems quite regional and in Spain the dop seems more common.

chileno January 20, 2013 08:01 PM

It is also regional in Spain. :)

Rusty January 20, 2013 09:21 PM

What you've been told is how various people or regions use it, which may or may not agree with the rules.

The rules governing which complement(s) a verb may take are set in stone and we should already know them. Perhaps we need to get our heads around something first to make it more clear - the rules are not affected by whether an infinitive also happens to be in the phrase. This has nothing to do with whether the verb 'hacer' or the verb 'dejar' takes a direct or an indirect object.

A direct object answers the question 'what?' or 'whom?'.
An indirect object answers the question 'to whom?' or 'to what?'.

In the case of 'hacer' (whose English meaning is 'make', as in 'compel', in your examples), ask the question "What did I make/compel (to do something)?" or "Whom did I make/compel (to do something)?" The latter question is clearly answered with a direct object. "I made him (do something)."
If that isn't clear enough, try the passive voice. If 'him' becomes 'he' in the passive voice, you're dealing with a direct object.
"Who is made (to do something)?"
"He is made (to do something)."

In the case of 'dejar' (let, allow), just swap the verb in the questions asked above.
"Whom did I allow (to do something)?" "I allowed her (to do something)."
Passive voice test:
"Who is allowed (to do something)?" "She is."

As you can see, neither of these verbs takes an indirect object, so using the indirect object pronoun 'le' should be out of the question (except where regional usage overrides prescriptive grammar).

LearningSpanish January 20, 2013 09:45 PM

Good tips, thanks Rusty. With the infinitive one suggestion I came across as to why the indirect object might be used is that the infinitive can be seen as the object of the main verb, making an indirect object necessary to represent the person affected by the main verb's action.

Les mandé hacer lo mismo. I told (ordered) them to do the same.

Couldn't mandar etc be viewed in a similar light to why decir is used with an indirect object pronoun; taking into account that 'what you say' is the object of the verb and the person being told then indirectly receives the action of the verb?

eg - Le dije que no.

And the 'to whom' or 'to what' and passive test doesn't always work - take for instance such phrases as:

Le hizo daño. (It hurt him.) etc Not 'to whom' or 'to what' but 'him' (d.o.) - Passive: Who was hurt? he was (d.o.)

Les hacían feliz. (It made them happy.) Les tengo miedo. (I'm afraid for them.)

Rusty January 20, 2013 10:58 PM

I was out reading what I could find on causative verbs followed by an infinitive, in particular, the 'hacer-infinitive' construction, and found a few theses written on the subject and posted on the internet.

The one thesis I started to read went into much more detail than I would care to post here, but you should know that it cited cases where both the accusative and the dative pronouns could be used. It also cited cases where a prepositional pronoun (following 'por') could be used. I didn't totally follow what they were trying to explain, so perhaps I should devote some more time to it before saying anything more. Some theses are written only to expose the fact that there are differing views.

One thing is certain, there is ample evidence on the internet that both the direct object and the indirect object pronouns are used (the direct object pronoun capturing the most hits). I chalked this up to regional usage, but maybe it's a bit more complicated.

LearningSpanish January 21, 2013 02:19 AM

Thanks for the update. The gentleman who told me that either the dop or iop can be used really knows his stuff when it comes to grammar and I'd very much doubt that he'd say it was optional if there was a grammar rule saying it should be a dop. But I'm always interested in other people's insights and would love to know what else you come across if you pursue it any further. Cheers

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