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The shocking truth about double pronouns

A present

This week we just wanted to post a quick reminder of how double pronouns work in Spanish. (There’s nothing shocking about it, sorry for the clickbait!)

Here it is, super summarized:

0. Object pronouns go right before the verb (except in some specific cases we won’t be discussing today).

1. There are verbs that accept a direct object (and this is called the accusative case, as in I accuse him). DOs can be things or people. (I accuse him / I accuse it). Other common verbs: llamar (for people), comprar (for things), mirar (for people or things).

Pronouns are me, te lo/la, nos, os, los/las. (Yo la acuso, él me acusa, etc.)

2. There are verbs that accept an indirect object (and this is called the dative case, from dar, to give, as in I give something to her or I give her something). IOs are always people. Other common verbs: decir, mostrar, explicar.

Pronouns are me, te, le, nos, os, les. (Yo le doy una cosa, él me da una cosa, etc.)

Notice the difference is in the third person: I accuse her -> Yo la acuso. I give her something -> Yo le doy una cosa.

3. Verbs that accept an indirect object also accept a direct object, as we have to give/say/show/explain something to someone. So we can substitute ‘una cosa’ for lo/la/los/las. But which pronoun goes first, the IO or the DO one? Here’s how it works:

-The IO pronoun (the one for the person) goes first.

-If the IO pronoun is in the third person (le or les) we use se instead.

She gives it to me -> Ella me lo da.

I give it to her -> Yo se lo doy.

That’s it! If you want to drill this until exhaustion, sign up for Level 4!