If you want your speech to sound natural, you’ll often need to use Direct & Indirect Object pronouns, instead of the noun. That sounds awfully technical, but here’s an example of a conversation, firstly without the pronouns, & then with the pronouns.
Can you bring the bags for me María? Yes, I can bring the bags for you Mum.
Can you bring the bags for me María? Yes, I can bring them for you, Mum
The second version sounds more natural, don’t you think?
In Spanish, it’s even more different, because there’s also a pronoun for ‘for you’:
¿Puedes traer las bolsas para mí? María. Sí, te las puedo traer.
There are two kinds of these ‘object pronouns’ – DIRECT & INDIRECT – now we’re going to learn how to use them – you’ll need a lot less words to say what you want to say, & although it’s confusing at first, when you get into what I call ‘YODA MODE’ (think Star Wars) you’ll find it easy!
DIRECT OBJECT PRONUNS
These are used to replace the ‘indirect object’. This is who (or what) the verb is being done TO.
|TO||DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUN|
It goes before the conjugated verb
Juan buys the car– Juan compra el coche
Juan buys it – Juan lo compra
When two verbs are used, it can be placed before the conjugated verb OR tagged onto the end of a full form of the verb / infinitive or the gerund / ING
Quiero comprar los zapatos– Los quiero comprar – Quiero comprarlos
Estamos comprando las sábanas– Las estamos comprando – Estamos comprándolas
NB. The pronoun can ONLY be tagged or ‘stuck’ onto the end of the infinitive (full form) or the gerund (ING). It cannot be tagged onto anything else. For instance, when using one of the ‘perfect’ tenses, it can only be placed before the conjugation of HABER, not after the past participle:
Habían vendido la casa – La habían vendido.
INDIRECT OBJECT PRONUNS
These can be confusing for English speakers, because they don’t really exist in English! They are used to replace the ‘indirect object’. This is who (or what) the verb is being done FOR.
|FOR||INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUN|
Juan buys it for me
Juan me lo compra
If both pronouns start with ‘L’ – we change the first one to ‘se’
I buy it for Juan
se lo compro (a Juan)
As when using just the Direct Object pronoun, if using two verbs, they can be placed either before the conjugated verb or tagged onto the end of a full form of the verb / infinitive or the gerund / ING.
This is where people seem to become confused. The most common mistake is to over think & ‘decide’ that someone else is doing the action, & change the conjugation of the verb – make it ‘fit’ someone else. Of course that is wrong; it’s still the same person doing the same thing to the same object for the same person – so the ‘VERBY BIT’ doesn’t change.
DON’T MESS WITH THE VERBY BIT!!
All we are changing is what the verb is being done TO (the Direct Object) & who the verb is being done FOR (the Indirect Object). The Indirect Object pronoun (FOR) always goes before the Direct Object pronoun (TO), and it’s best to keep them together, too. (At least while you’re learning to use them!!)
Remember – the Indirect Object, is WHO the action is being done FOR
It is placed before the conjugated verb
Juan buys the car for me – Juan me compra el coche
And then to use them both at once, we put the Indirect Object pronoun first…………….
Juan me lo compra.
Here are some more examples:
Will you mop the floor for me María?
¿Fregarás el suelo por mí? María ¿Me lo fregarás? María
I have prepared this paella for you & Javi, María.
He preparado esta paella para tí y Javi, María (vosotros)
Os la he preparado, María.
They were cleaning the car for Javi & María
Estuvieron limpiando el coche por Javi & María esta mañana.(ellos)
Se lo estuvieron limpiando / Estuvieron limpiándoselo
And here’s a singalong….. Te mando flores by Fonseca