Spanish Grammar - Direct Object Pronouns

Spanish grammar lesson 20: Direct Object Pronouns

A direct object is the immediate recipient of a verb's action or link transferred from the subject.

Consider the sentence, "El encontró la moneda." (He found the coin.) In this case, la moneda (the coin) is the direct object.

A direct object noun can be replaced by a pronoun. "El la encontró." (He found it.)

Of course the pronoun must agree in gender and number. In the above example, the pronoun "la" is singular and feminine to agree with la moneda.

The singular direct object prounous are: me (me), te (you-familiar), lo (him, you-male-formal, it-masculine), la (her, you-female-formal, it-feminine), and le (optional alternative to lo when referring to male human beings.)

The plural direct object pronouns are: nos (us), os (you-familar-Spain) los (them-males, you-males, them-masculine), las (them-females, you-females, them-feminine), and les (optional alternative to los when referring to a male or mixed gender group of human beings.)

The direct object pronoun is positioned before the verb when the verb is conjugated (as seen above), but is placed after (and connected to) the verb when the verb is in the infinitive or imperative (giving an order). However, if the infinitive verb is preceded by a separate conjugated verb, then the direct object pronoun can be positioned first. All of the following sentences are correct:

Antes de leerlo, prendo la luz. (Before reading it, I turn on the light.)

¡Léelo! (Read it!)

Lo puedo leer. (I can read it.)

Puedo leerlo. (I can read it.)

A direct object pronoun always comes after a reflexive or indirect object pronoun. Remember this order by using the acronym RID (reflexive, indirect, direct.)

Exercise: Read carefully, listen to, and repeat aloud the following sentences. Try to identify the direct object pronouns.

Yo la compro en la farmacia.

(I buy it in the pharmacy.) Note: In this case "la" may refer to "la medicina" (the medicine).

Lo digo en confianza.

(I say it in confidence.)

Lo golpearon varias veces.

(They hit him multiple times.) Note: In parts of Spain, it is preferred to use "le" instead of "lo" to refer to a male is the direct object, as in this sentence.

Me picó el zancudo.

(The mosquito bit me.)

Los chinches nos picaron.

(The bedbugs bit us.)



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