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Indirect Object Pronouns


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Old January 31, 2023, 03:36 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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I don't know why this would be an exercise, but I can only say that this is hard, even for native speakers. The "personal a" makes it very confusing for most of us.
We are taught to distinguish direct object from indirect object by asking "¿qué?" and "¿a quién?" correspondingly, which works for some sentences like:

- (Le) di un chocolate a mi mamá. (I gave a chocolate to my mom.)
DO question: ¿Qué (le) di a mi mamá? (What did I give to my mother??
Answer: Un chocolate. (A chocolate)
IO question: ¿A quién (le) di un chocolate? (To whom did I give a chocolate?)
Answer: A mi mamá. (To my mom.)

But then, there is the "personal a", which we use to separate a transitive verb from a person. This is a way to show respect for every person, and it's extended to animals that we care for. So the question "¿a quién?" becomes confusing for DO and IO:

- Ellos invitan a Susana.

The DO question "¿qué?" is not working here, because the verb doesn't "pass" its action on something. Yet, if we ask "¿a quién?" there is a valid answer, but the interpretation that because of this we have an indirect object is wrong.
We have to examine the verb and whether it's transitive or not.
"Ellos invitan" without a complement, makes no sense, so "invitar" is a transitive verb, and the person invited is the direct object.

- Llevo al perro al veterinario. (I take the dog to the vet.)
Again, asking "¿a quién?" has a logical answer, but "el perro" is the recipient of the action of the verb, so the answer "al perro" is not an IO, but a case of "personal a".

- El caníbal se comió al explorador. (The cannibal ate the explorer.)
Even when it's such a disrespectful action, like eating someone, we still use "personal a" to separate the person from the verb, but this is still a transitive verb, and the explorer is the DO.

@Oldman: Keep asking questions. It's going to become clear some time.
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