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Double Pronouns in Spanish

Gear

We’ll explain it to you.

Te lo vamos a explicar.

Here’s how double pronouns work in Spanish, in a nutshell.

Some very special verbs accept two objects. One of them is a thing, and the other one is a person. Here are some common ones:

Explicar (you explain something to someone)

Dar (you give something to someone)

Regalar (same)

Decir (you say something to someone)

Mostrar (you show something to someone)

Enseñar (you teach/show something to someone)

Pedir (in Spanish, you request something “to someone”)

In English, when we want to substitute something and someone for pronouns, we do the following:

I explain it to you.

You give it to me.

She shows it to him.

Etc.

Easy, right? Subject, verb, direct object pronoun (thing), indirect object pronoun (person).

In Spanish we can do the same thing, but the order of the sentence is all messed up:

I to you it explain.

You to me it give.

She to him it shows.

Etc.

The order when using pronouns for both the thing and the person is:

Subject (which can be omitted), indirect object pronoun (person), direct object pronoun (thing), verb. Wild.

Here are the examples above in Spanish:

(Yo) te lo explico.

(Tú) me lo das.

(Ella) se lo muestra.

Hopefully this makes sense! If you want to dig deeper, check out our famous Level 4 :)