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Trying to Understand Direct + Indirect Object Pronouns

 

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  #1  
Old January 20, 2013, 07:40 PM
zoiberg137 zoiberg137 is offline
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Trying to Understand Direct + Indirect Object Pronouns

Direct and Indirect object pronouns are without a doubt the most (and only) confusing thing I have come across since I started studying Spanish. Just wondering if anyone has any basic rules (or a website that lists rules) to live by when using these pronouns. I'm ok with reading them, but when forming sentences I get confused as to whether I should be using le vs. lo.

I understand that when to "L" pronouns are used together the first one becomes se....BUt what if the only word used is se? As in ¿Cuándo se graduó Jorge? Here is translates to "is"... But why use se instead of está?

Also...when two pronouns are used together, such as "se lo", is it safe to assume that the first one, "se", is referring to a person and the second referring to a thing?

¡Muchos Gracias por tu ayuda!
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  #2  
Old January 20, 2013, 08:10 PM
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First off, 'se graduó' is a conjugation of 'graduarse', which is a pronominal verb. In other words, the 'se' is not a direct nor an indirect object pronoun. It is known as a reflexive pronoun.
The translation of "¿Cuándo se graduó Jorge?" is "When did George graduate?"

The back-to-back object pronouns that begin with 'l' ('le lo', 'le la', 'le los', 'le las' and another four combinations with the indirect object pronoun 'les') can only occur when both the indirect object pronoun and the direct object pronoun are in the third person. When this combination occurs, the indirect object pronoun, whether it is the singular form 'le' or the plural form 'les', is converted to 'se' to avoid cacophony.

Certain verbs take both an indirect and direct object. Your assumption that the indirect object pronoun refers to a person is not correct. Both the indirect and the direct object pronoun can refer to a thing. For example, if you were just talking about adding salt to some soup, and you wanted to ask the cook if he added it (the salt) to it (the soup), you would say "¿Se la añadió?" The first pronoun refers to the soup. The second pronoun refers to the salt.

That brings us to how to tell the difference between a direct object and an indirect object. The direct object will answer the question 'What?'. The indirect object will answer the question 'To whom?' or 'To what?'.


There are many threads that talk about direct objects and indirect objects, and the respective pronouns. You have only asked about the third-person forms. Don't forget about the first and second persons.
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Old January 20, 2013, 08:32 PM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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To add to Rusty's excellent comments: the indirect object pronouns in Spanish sometimes have a broader meaning than the English equivalent. "To whom" or "to what" is perhaps the most common question that they answer. Sometimes they answer a different question (for whom/what, from whom/what, of whom/what, etc); however, as Rusty says, only the direct object pronoun answers the question "what" or "whom".
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Old January 20, 2013, 08:40 PM
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I agree with answers given. I only add a little note: "Gracias" is feminine, so it's never "muchos", but "muchas gracias".
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Old January 26, 2013, 05:53 PM
Queli Queli is offline
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Rusty's point about asking if it's "what" and then a direct object (la[s]/lo[s]) or "to whom/what" and then an indirect object (le[s]) is grammatically correct, so you won't go wrong. But if you hear "le" where you think it should be a direct object (Puedo ayudarle, for example) it might be because many speakers use "le" for direct objects that are people. I think this is technically grammatically incorrect but increasingly accepted in grammar (others may know more)--it's "leísmo." It's especially common in Spain, I think.
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Old January 26, 2013, 08:03 PM
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"Leísmo" occurs a lot in certain parts of Spain, and is generally only used when the direct object is a male person.
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