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The Indirect Object – Part II



Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation

Indirect object introduced by the preposition "a"

The indirect object is always introduced by the preposition "a".

No vio a mi hermana y le golpeó con la puerta.
He didn't see my sister and he hit her with the door.

Leísmo, Laísmo y Loísmo

There's three phenomena called "el leísmo, el laísmo y el loísmo" which are a very common mistake amongst native speakers. El leísmo is the misuse of the indirect object pronoun in place of the direct object pronoun. El laísmo is the misuse of the direct object pronoun (feminine) in place of the indirect object pronoun. El loísmo is the misuse of the direct object pronoun (masculine) in place of the indirect object pronoun. We'll get into more detail in a following lesson.

¿Has visto al pájaro? Le he visto fuera en un árbol. - INCORRECT.
¿Has visto al pájaro? Lo he visto fuera en un árbol. - CORRECT
Did you see the bird? I saw it outside on a tree.

Las dije una mentira. (a ellas) - INCORRECT
Les dije una mentira. (a ellas) - CORRECT
I told them a lie.

Lo dio una bofetada. (a él) - INCORRECT
Le dio una bofetada (a él) - CORRECT
He hit him in the face.

Indirect object - Pronoun Form

The indirect object can be substituted for its pronoun form. This phenomenon is called "pronominalización".

The "pronominalización" is used to talk about the indirect object without repeating it after it has previously been mentioned in the sentence.

Vi a tu prima el otro día. Le di mi número de teléfono y le dije que te lo diera para que me llamaras.
I saw your cousin the other day. I gave her my phone number and told her to give it to you so you could call me.

There are two indirect object pronouns depending on the number, but not gender unlike the direct object pronouns.

Singular Plural
Masculine / Feminine le les

Mi hermano acompañó a mi tío al médico= Mi hermano le acompañó al médico.
My brother went with my uncle to the doctor = My brother went with him to the doctor.

Sonia vio a los ladrones robar el banco= Sonia les vio robar el banco.
Sonia saw the thieves robbing the bank = Sonia saw them robbing the bank.

The indirect object pronoun is usually placed before the verb but it can also be placed after the verb except in the following cases:

- in sentences with Subject+Verb+Predicate structures, the pronoun is usually placed before the verb

Señor González, ¿puede dar este paquete a la señora García? – Señor González, ¿puede darle este paquete? – Señor González, ¿puede le dar este paquete? - (INCORRECT)
Mr. Gonzalez, could you give this package to Ms. Garcia?

- in the negative form of an imperative verb

No pegues a tu hermano - No le pegues - No peguesle - (INCORRECT)
Don't hit your brother.

- in the afirmative imperative form of a verb the pronoun is always placed after the verb

Da de comer a tu hermana – Dale de comer– Le da de comer - (INCORRECT)
Feed your sister.

- in sentences with two verbs, and the second verb being in the infinitive or gerund form, the pronoun can be placed after the verb in infinitive or gerund or placed before the two verbs

Quiero escribir una carta a mi novia – Quiero escribirle una carta– Le quiero escribir una carta.
I want to write a letter to my girlfriend.