Thread: Object Pronouns
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Old April 13, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Object pronouns can be stumbling block.

The object pronouns fall into two categories; they are either taking the place of a direct object or an indirect object.

A direct object is the direct recipient of the verb's action. It answers the question WHAT or WHO receives the action of the verb. The direct object in each sentence below is highlighted in violet.

I see a book. WHAT do I see? A book.
I see Mary. WHO do I see? Mary.

If pronouns replace the objects in these sentences, the same questions can still be asked.

I see it. WHAT do I see? It.
I see her. WHO do I see? Her.

Direct object pronouns, then, totally replace the direct object and must match its number and gender. A sure-fire way to tell if you have a direct object or not is to switch the sentence into a passive voice. If it works, you've got a direct object. If it sounds absurd, you have an indirect object.
For example:
I wrote a letter. = A letter was written by me.
I wrote Mary. = Mary was written by me. Mary is NOT a direct object.
I wrote Mary a letter. = A letter was written by me for Mary. Mary is an indirect recipient of the action.

In Spanish, the direct object pronouns are:
me
te
lo* / la
nos
os
los* / las
* In Spain, the masculine 3rd-person lo and los are often said le and les when the object refers to a male person.

Now, let's look at the sentences in Spanish:

Veo un libro. (I see a book.) ¿QUÉ veo? Un libro.
Lo veo. (I see it.)
Veo a María. (I see Mary.) ¿QUIÉN veo? A María.
La veo. (I see her.)


An indirect object indirectly receives the verb's action. It answers the question TO WHAT or TO WHOM. The indirect object in the sentence below is highlighted in blue. There is also a direct object, highlighted in violet.

I took Mary a book. WHAT did I take? A book. TO WHOM did I take it? Mary.

If pronouns replace the objects in these sentences, the same questions can still be asked.

I took it to her. WHAT did I take? It. To WHOM did I take it? Her.

Indirect object pronouns totally replace the indirect object and must match its number and gender. As mentioned above, an indirect object fails the passive voice test.

In Spanish, the indirect object pronouns are:
me
te
le / se*
nos
os
les / se*
* If both an indirect and a direct object pronoun are present, the indirect object pronoun, which always precedes the direct object pronoun, is changed to se.

Now, let's look at the sentences in Spanish:

Llevé un libro a María. (I took Mary a book.) ¿QUÉ llevé? Un libro. ¿A QUIÉN lo llevé? A María.
Se lo llevé a ella. (I took it to her.)

The indirect object pronoun precedes the direct object pronoun (when both are present). Se is used because both pronouns are present (it's really because it sounds bad to say le lo). The phrase a ella is there to clarify the ambiguous 3rd-person indirect object pronoun.


Given this information, can you answer your own question? If not, ask more questions.

Last edited by Rusty; April 13, 2009 at 10:31 PM.
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