Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns in the Same Sentence – Beginning Spanish

In [link to lesson 30 – Direct Object Pronouns] we learned that direct objects are the recipient of a verbs action.

Example:
Escribí una carta. [I wrote a letter.]
una carta is the direct object, and can be replaced by the direct object pronoun la, placed before the verb:
La escribí. [I wrote it.]

In [link to lesson 31- Indirect Object Pronouns] we learned that indirect objects are the secondary recipients of the action – they are affected by the action without being the direct recipient of it. It is done to or for them.
Example:
Escribí a Pedro. [I wrote to Pedro.]
Pedro is the indirect object here – he is not what is being written; rather, he is the recipient of that object. A Pedro can be replaced by the indirect object pronoun le, placed before the verb:
Le escribí. [I wrote him.]

Here are all the direct [DO] and indirect [IO] object pronouns. Note that they are translated the same in English.

DO Pronouns IO Pronouns English
me me me
te te You (familiar, singular)
lo, la le Him, her, it, you (singular, formal)
nosnosUs
ososYou (plural, familiar)
Los, las les Them, you (plural, formal)

Some sentences have both an indirect and a direct object pronoun. The indirect object comes before the direct object pronoun.
Examples:
Ella me los manda. [She sends them to me.] IO: me DO: los
Nosotros te la damos. [We give it to you.] IO: te DO: la
¿Quién nos los vende? [Who sells them to us?] IO: nos DO: los

If you need to use the direct object lo/la/los/las and the indirect object le in the same sentence, le changes to se. This helps avoid the choppiness of having two short words starting with "l" next to each other.
Examples:
Se la escribí. [I wrote it to him.] IO: se Do: la
Nosotros se los buscamos. [We are looking for them for her.] IO: se DO: los
Siempre se los doy. [I always give them to him.] IO: se DO: los

In sentences with two verbs, you also have the option of attaching the pronouns to the end of the infinitive. The IO still precedes the DO, and if the addition of syllables changes the stress of the word, add an accent.
Examples:
Nosotros te lo podemos explicar. [We can explain it to you.] IO: te DO: lo
Nosotros podemos explicártelo. [We can explain it to you.] IO: te DO: lo
Se la debo mandar. [I should send it to her.] IO: se DO: la
Debo mandársela. [I should send it to her.] IO: se DO: la

In negative sentences, the negative word comes directly before the first pronoun.
Examples:
No se la escribí. [I didn't write it to him.] IO: se DO: la
Nadie me las compra. [No one buys them for me.] IO: se DO: la
In negative sentences with pronouns added to an infinitive, the negative word is placed in front of the verb as usual.
Examples:
Nosotros no podemos explicártelo. [We can't explain it to you.] IO: te DO: lo
No debo mandársela. [I shouldn't send it to her.] I: se DO: la
Because it is easy to lose track of which pronoun stands for which person or item, often clarifying phrases are added to the end.
Se lo digo. [I tell it to… {whom is unclear.}] IO: se DO: lo
Se lo digo a él. [I tell it to him.] IO: se... a él DO: lo
Se lo digo a Juanita. [I tell it to Juanita.] IO: se... a Juanita DO: lo
Se lo digo a usted. [I tell it to you.] IO: se.. a usted DO: lo
Related Links:
Indirect Object pronouns in Spanish
Spanish Worksheets
Spanish Quizzes
Spanish Games
Spanish FlashCards


To link to this Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns in the Same Sentence – Beginning Spanish page, copy the following code to your site:


Educational Videos