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Flashcards in 2.4 Lesson Deck (121)
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What is a direct object?

A direct object (D.O.) is something or someone that certain verbs (transitive verbs) act upon:

  • I read a book. Q: What did I read?  DO: a book
  • I drove a carQ: What did I drive?  DO: a car
  • I will call AnaQ: Who will I call?      DO: Ana


What is a tonic or disjunctive pronoun?

A tonic or disjunctive pronoun is a stressed form of a personal pronoun that is only used in certain contexts. In Spanish, they are:

  • a mí
  • a ti
  • a él/ella/ud
  • a nosotros
  • a vosotros
  • a ellos/ellas/uds

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Marcos helps me

Marcos me ayuda

me - me. Note that we can use the direct-object pronoun me to replace the disjunctive pronoun a mí. Direct object pronouns always appear before the conjugated verb

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Guillermo calls you every day

Guillermo te llama todos los días

you - te. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces the disjunctive pronoun a ti (i.e. Guillermo te llama a ti)

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I don't see him at the back of the restaurant

No lo veo al fondo del restaurante

him, it, you (Ud) - lo. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces masculine nouns such as:

  • the phrases a él and a usted
  • a masculine noun (e.g. el libro)
  • someone's name (e.g. a Marcos)

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I didn't receive the letter. I didn't receive it

No recibí la carta. No la recibí

her, it, you (formal, feminine) - la. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces feminine nouns such as:

  • the phrases a ella and a usted
  • a feminine noun (e.g. la carta), or
  • a person (e.g. María)

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They helped us buy a house

Ellos nos ayudaron a comprar una casa

us - nos. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces the disjunctive pronoun a nosotros(as).  Also note that the direct-object pronoun is placed between the subject and the verb

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I called you (vosotros) this morning

Os llamé esta mañana

you (vosotros) - os. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces the disjunctive pronoun a vosotros(as)

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I sold the books. I sold them

Vendí los libros. Los vendí

them, you (plural) - los. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces the disjunctive pronouns a ellos and a ustedes, or replaces a plural masculine noun (e.g. los libros), or replaces several names (e.g. Marcos y María)

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I helped them (fem)

Yo las ayudé

them (fem), you (plural, fem) - las. Note that this direct-object pronoun replaces the phrases a ellas and a ustedes, or replaces a plural feminine noun (e.g. las casas), or replaces several feminine names (e.g. María y Carla)

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We met them (fem) at the party

Nosotros las conocimos en la fiesta

party - la fiesta. Note that the direct-object pronoun (e.g. las) usually goes between the subject and the verb

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We are going to see him soon

Vamos a verlo pronto

Note that when a full verb phrase is used, the direct-object pronoun may be attached at the end of the infinitive. It is also acceptable to say Nosotros lo vamos a ver

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We saw him at the movie theater

Lo vimos en el cine

movie theater - el cine

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Pancho does not have very good sight, therefore he doesn't see me

Pancho no tiene muy buena vista, por eso no me ve

sight - la vista. Note that when using a negation, the direct-object pronoun goes in between no and the verb (e.g. no me ve)

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Direct-Object Pronouns

  • me
  • you
  • him/her
  • us
  • you
  • them

Pronombres de Objeto Directo

  • me (yo)
  • te (tú)
  • lo, la (él/ella/ud)
  • nos (nosotros)
  • os (vosotros)
  • los, las (ellos/ellas/uds)


What is an indirect object?

An indirect object (I.O.) is a noun or pronoun for which the verb's actions are intended and answers the questions "to whom" and "for whom":

  • I make Jaime lunch.  IO: for Jaime  DO: lunch
  • I sent Marta a letterIO: to Marta  DO: a letter

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Indirect-Object Pronouns

  • to me
  • to you
  • to him/her
  • to us
  • to you 
  • to them

Pronombres de Objeto Indirecto

  • me (yo)
  • te (tú)
  • le (él/ella/ud)
  • nos (nosotros)
  • os (vosotros)
  • les (ellos/ellas/uds)

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He bought me these books.

He bought me them.

Él me compró estos libros.

Él me los compró.

to me - me. Note that the indirect-object pronoun goes before the direct-object pronoun

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Rosa bought you these apples.

She bought you them

Rosa te compró estas manzanas.

Te las compró

to you - te

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We bought these chairs for Rafael.

We bought these chairs for him.

We bought them for him

Nosotros compramos estas sillas para Rafael.

Nosotros le compramos estas sillas.

Nosotros se las compramos

to him, to her, to you (ud) - le. Note that when the indirect object pronoun le is followed by the direct-object pronouns lo, la, los or las, you must change le to se

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I did not buy this desk for my son.

I did not buy him this desk.

I did not buy it for him

No compré este escritorio para mi hijo.

No le compré este escritorio.

No se lo compré

desk - el escritorio

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They did not send us the letters.

They never sent them to us

Ellos no nos enviaron las cartas.

Nunca nos las enviaron

to us - nos

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I didn't buy these pens for Marcos and Pamela

I didn't buy these pens for them

I didn't buy them for them

No compré estas plumas para Marcos y Pamela

No les compré estas plumas

No se las compré

to them, to you (plural) - les

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They sent you (vosotros) a letter.

They sent it to you (vosotros)

Ellos os enviaron una carta.

Os la enviaron

to you (vosotros) - os

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TO GIVE (Preterite)

  • I gave
  • You gave
  • He/She gave
  • We gave
  • You gave
  • They gave

DAR (Tiempo Pretérito)

  • Yo di
  • Tú diste
  • Él/Ella/Ud dio
  • Nosotros dimos
  • Vosotros disteis
  • Ellos/Ellas/Uds dieron 

Remember that the conjugations for dar in the preterite tense are irregular

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I gave the book to Miguel

Le di el libro a Miguel

Note that we repeat the indirect object pronoun le despite the fact that we still say a Miguel. The indirect object pronoun is always used whether or not the actual object is stated

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I bought the book from Miguel

Le compré el libro a Miguel

Note that the word comprar, as well as a few similar words (e.g. robar, quitar), often uses the preposition a to denote the person from whom the item is being purchased, rather than using de. Confusingly, this sentence could also mean that you are buying the book "for" Miguel, depending on context. 

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The sad part is that he never knew his grandfather

Lo triste es que nunca conoció a su abuelo

Note that the word lo is used as a neuter article to indicate "the ___ part." Another common example is lo bueno ("the good part")

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The part about eating made me hungry

Lo de comer me dio hambre

the part about - lo de.  Note that the phrase lo de is used to denote "the part about", or "all this business about"

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He doesn't understand how handsome he is

Él no entiende lo guapo que es

how (to express degree) - lo. Note that the use of the neuter lo here has nothing to do with gender. You would also say Ella no entiende lo guapa que es.