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Complementary Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns



Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation
In previous episodes, we have studied the direct and indirect object pronouns for the third person singular and plural. In today's lesson, we will study the direct and indirect object pronouns for the other persons.

Subject Direct Object
Yo me
te
Ud/Él/Ella lo, la
Nosotros nos
Vosotros os
Uds/Ellos/as los, las

Notice that the direct and indirect object pronouns for the other persons are the same for the direct object and the indirect object. Although they are the same pronouns, there should be no confusion when identifying which ones refer to direct objects and which ones refer to indirect objects. .
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How to identify a direct object and an indirect object in a sentence

Direct Object: if a statement can be switched to a passive sentence and the direct object of the statement becomes the subject of the passive sentence, we know it is a direct object. .
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La mujer dio un puñetazo a la puerta. ---> Un puñetazo a la puerta fue dado por la mujer. .
The woman punched the door. ---> The door was punched by the woman. - "Un puñetazo" is the direct object. .

Indirect Object: if a statement cannot be switched to a passive sentence because it changes the meaning of the sentence, then we know it is an indirect object. .
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He escrito a Juan. ---> Juan fue escrito por mí. - INCORRECT - it changes the meaning of the original statement.
I wrote Juan. ---> Juan was written by me. - "A Juan" is the indirect object.

Let's see a few more examples:

Anoche Jorge llamó a Laura. ---> Laura fue llamada por Jorge anoche.
Jorge called Laura last night. ---> Laura was called by Jorge last night.

Aportamos información relevante al caso. ---> Información relevante fue aportada al caso por nosotros.
We provided relevant information to the case. ---> Relevant information was provided to the case by us.

Di todo lo que sabes a nosotros. ---> Nosotros fuimos sabidos todo por ti. - INCORRECT
Tell us everything you know.

Combination of Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns in the same sentence

1. When the direct and indirect object pronouns appear in the same sentence, the indirect pronoun is always placed first.

- ¿Me trajiste las notas del examen?
- No, te las traeré mañana.
- Did you bring me the test scores?
- No, I will bring them tomorrow.


2. When the indirect object pronouns le, les are followed by a third person direct object pronoun (lo, la, los, las), le, les become se.
He escrito una carta urgente a Manuel. Se la he escrito. (una carta urgente=la; a Manuel=se)
I wrote an urgent letter to Manuel. I wrote it to him.

Mostré las fotos de mis vacaciones a mis amigos. Se las mostré. (las fotos de mis vacaciones=las; a mis amigos=se)
I showed the pictures of my vacation to my friends. I showed them to them.