Lesson 17:
Complement Pronouns

Complement Pronouns

The complement pronouns are dividend into: direct object and indirect object pronouns

Direct Object Pronouns

Direct objects tell who or what received the action of the verb and answers the questions whom? or what? Direct object pronouns replace direct objects and agree with them in gender and number.

Example:

El gato toma leche.
The cat drinks milk.

In this case “leche” is the direct object of the sentence; this word is to be replaced by a pronoun.

The direct object pronouns are:

me me
te you
lo him, you (m.) formal, it (m.)
la her, you (f.) formal, it (f.)
nos us
los them, you (m.)
las them, you (f.)

Then in the sentence:

El gato toma leche.

We replaced the word “leche” for the pronoun complement, which in this case is direct.

El gato la toma.

The direct object pronoun is usually placed directly before the verb.

Example:

¿Quién lee el libro? Los estudiantes lo leen.
Who reads the book? The students read it.

¿Compró Lola las manzanas? Lola no las compró.
Did Lola buy the apples? Lola didn´t buy them.

The direct object pronoun precedes the main verb or is attached to an infinitive.

Example:

Vas a escribir una carta. You are going to write a letter.
La vas a escribir. You are going to write it.
Vas a escribirla. You are going to write it.
Ellos no te quieren ver. They don’t want to see you.
Ellos no quieren verte. They don’t want to see you.

Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect objects tell to whom or for who the action of the verb is performed and answer the question: to whom? Indirect object pronouns replace indirect object and agree with them in gender and number.

Example:

Yo envío una carta a María.
I sent a letter to Mary.

In this case, “a María” is the indirect object of the sentence; this word is to be replaced by a pronoun.

The indirect object pronouns are:

me to me
te to you (familiar)
le to you (formal, to him, to her)
nos to us
les to you (formal, to them,) (m. and f.)

Then in the sentence:

Yo envío una carta a María.

We replaced “a María” for the pronoun complement, which in this case is indirect.

Yo le envío una carta.


NOTE:

The forms “le” and “les” are used as both masculine and feminine indirect object pronouns.

If the meaning is not clear or if wish to add emphasis, a phrase with “a” + propositional pronouns may be used in addition to the indirect object pronouns.

Clarity: Yo les escribo a ellos – I write to them.

Emphasis: A mí me encanta bailar – I love to dance.


Sentences with both indirect object and indirect object pronouns are very common in Spanish

The forms “me, te, nos” are also used for direct object pronouns and for reflexive pronouns.

The indirect object pronoun may be identified in English by the preposition “to” + a person. The “to” maybe expressed or implied.

Les lee el cuento. She reads the story to them / She reads them the story

The indirect object pronoun is usually placed before the verb.

Example:

Yo te doy el regalo.
I give the gift to you. OR I give you the gift.

Él me manda un paquete.
He sends a package to me. OR He sends me a package.

When a verb is followed by an infinitive, the indirect object pronoun precedes the verb or is attached to the infinitive.

Example:

¿Me quieres decir algo importante?
Do you want to tell me something important?

¿Quieres decirme algo importante?
Do you want to tell me something important?

Double Object Pronoun

When a verb has two object pronouns, the indirect object pronoun (usually referring to a person) precedes the indirect object pronoun (usually a thing). In English it is different.

Example:

Pedro me lo da.
Peter gives it to me.

Pedro te lo da.
Peter gives it to you.

Pedro nos las da.
Peter gives them to us.

NOTE:

“le” and “les” change to “se” before “lo, la, los, las”.

Example:

Ella compra regalos para su sobrino.
She buys gifts for his nephew.
Ella le los compra. Incorrect Ella se los compra. CorrectShe buys them for him.

Yo comparto mi comida con mis hermanos.
I share my food with my brothers.
Yo les la comparto. Incorrect Yo se la comparto. CorrectI share it with them.

Example:

Tú tienes que comprar un carro para tu mama. Tú se lo tienes que comprar.
You have to buy a car for your mom. You have to buy it for her.

Ella revisa las tareas de los estudiantes. Ella se las revisa.
She checks the homework of the students. She checks it for them.

Jorge me da un chocolate a mí. Jorge me lo da.
Jorge gives me a chocolate. Jorge gives it to me.

Rudy regala unas rosas a Quetzalí. Rudy se las regala.
Rudy gives some roses to Quetzalí. Rudy gives them to her.

Ustedes llevan los libros de nosotros a la escuela. Ustedes nos los llevan a la escuela.
You carry our books to school. You carry them for us.

The various meanings of “se” may be clarified by adding a “a usted, a ustedes, a él, a ella, a ellos, a ellas”.

Example:

Su padre se lo da a ella(s).
Her father gives it to her / them.

The position of double object pronouns is the same as for single object pronoun.

Example:

Me lo da.
He gives it to me.

Desea dármelo.
He wants to give it to me.

Me lo desea dar.
He wants to give it to me.

NOTE: When both object pronouns are attached to the verb, an accent mark is placed on the stressed syllable.