Indirect Object Pronouns

  singular plural
1st person me me nos us
2nd person te you  
3rd person le him/her/you formal  les them/you plural

Description

An indirect object is a person who receives the action of a verb indirectly; it says to whom or for whom something is done. In Spanish the indirect object is usually preceded by the preposition a and in English by the preposition to. If there is an indirect object in a sentence, it will usually be accompanied by the indirect object pronoun. The indirect object pronoun must match the person and number of the indirect object. In the sentence below, los hijos is the indirect object, accompanied by the pronoun les; both of which are third person plural.

Es más difícil aquí porque aquí les dan más privilegios a los hijos.
It’s harder here because here they give children more privileges.

Also, the indirect object pronoun may used by itself to replace an indirect object. For example, a los hijos can be removed from the previous sentence to resulting in:

Es más difícil aquí porque aquí les dan más privilegios. It’s harder here because here they give them more privileges. 

Placement

There are two places where indirect object pronouns can be placed.

  1. Before a conjugated verb
  2. Attached to the end of the verb, ONLY IF the verb is not conjugated, such as infinitives or gerunds or if the verb is an affirmative informal command.

In first example, the indirect object pronoun me is found before the conjugated verb dabaIn the second example, the the indirect object pronoun le is found before the conjugated verb da. In the third example, the the indirect object pronoun le is attached to the infinitive decir.

Cuando estaba en la primaria recuerdo que me daban mi lonche y me daban mi dinero para que yo gastara en la escuela.
When I was in elementary school, I remember that they gave me lunch and they gave me my money for me to spend in school.
Es algo que el gobierno americano le da a la gente que viene aquí con una visa extranjera.
It’s something that the American government gives to people who come here with a foreign visa.
Después me arrepentía de decirle tantas cosas feas.
Later I regretted saying mean things to him.