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Correct Placement of Object Pronouns in Spanish

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  • 0:01 Review of Object Pronouns
  • 1:36 Pronouns Before the Verb
  • 2:48 Pronouns After the Verb
  • 4:57 Practicar
  • 7:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will discuss where pronouns are placed and why they are placed in certain locations within a sentence. We'll also review the use and placement of direct and indirect object pronouns.

Review of Object Pronouns

In previous lessons, we learned the direct object (DO) pronouns, indirect object (IO) pronouns and double object pronouns. Let's review these pronouns.

DO Pronouns IO Pronouns
me me
te te
lo/la le
nos nos
os os
los/las les

Double Object Pronouns

IO DO
me lo(s)/la(s)
te lo(s)/la(s)
se lo(s)/la(s)
nos lo(s)/la(s)
os lo(s)/la(s)
se lo(s)/la(s)

Today, we will talk about where in a sentence you can place these pronouns and why. Remember that with double object pronouns, the indirect object comes before the direct object.

Pronouns Before the Verb

Usually the pronouns will be placed before the verb. For example:

IO: Álex nos prestó el dinero.

DO: Álex lo prestó.

Double Object: Álex nos lo prestó.

Notice that whether it is a direct object, indirect object or double object, the pronouns go before the verb. This is also true in negative sentences, like 'Álex no nos lo prestó.'

What if there are multiple verbs?

Ella va a comprar la chaqueta para su papá. Ella se la va a comprar.

Carlos le está leyendo el libro al niño. Carlos se lo está leyendo.

María quiere recomendar el celular para ti. María te lo quiere recomendar.

Notice that when there are multiple verbs, the pronouns CAN go before the verbs.

Pronouns After the Verb

As you just saw, when there are multiple verbs, the pronouns can go before the verbs, but they can also go AFTER the verbs.

1. Te van a llamar a ti. Van a llamarte.

2. Queremos ver la película nueva. Queremos verla.

3. Estoy comprando los zapatos. Estoy comprándolos.

4. Nosotros estamos comprando una computadora nueva para ti. Nosotros estamos comprándotela.

5. Usted quiere describir el programa a ellos. Usted quiere describírselo.

Notice the pronoun order is the same, indirect object then direct object. Also, in the present progressive, with only direct object or indirect object pronouns, an accent mark is needed to maintain the same stress (the second to last syllable of the second verb.) You can see that in example 3: Estoy comprándolos. With double object pronouns, an accent mark is also needed to maintain the same stress, like in examples 4 and 5.

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