Beginner Lessons
Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

In addition to the web version, you can download the lesson as a PDF, found at the bottom of the page.

Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

This lesson looks at direct object pronouns (DOP). They differ from subject pronouns, but they’re nothing new to you.

DOPs replace nouns and refer to what or whom.

Let’s start with an example:

Te llamo.
I’m calling you. / I call you.

The DOP here is te. It is the equivalent of you in English.

The two charts show you how to relate pronouns.

Direct Object Pronouns

me
te
lo, la
nos
los, las

me
you
him, her, it
us
them, you (all)

Subject Pronouns (last lesson)

yo

él, ella, usted
nosotros, nosotras
ellos, ellas, ustedes

I
you
he, she, it
we
they

From previous example:

Te llamo
llamo
te

I call you
I call
you

This is the reverse order of English.

Me llamas
llamas
me

You call me
you call
me

The second wrinkle with DOPs is how they connect to verbs.

Necesito verte.
I need to see you.

The DOP can connect to unconjugated verbs at the end of the verb, like in verte.

And the third part of DOP placement gives an option.

Necesito verte.
Te necesito ver.

I need to see you.

In the second sentence, the DOP comes before the conjugated verb but stays unconnected.

This shows the flexibility of the Spanish language. You can choose whichever one you prefer.

Another set of examples using two verbs:

¿Puedes decirnos?
¿Nos puedes decir?

Can you tell us?

The first sentence adds the DOP nos to the end of the second, unconjugated verb decir. And the second sentence places the DOP nos before the conjugated verb puedes.

Now let’s try using the DOPs that are more involved.

They are lo, la, los and las.

Quiero comprarlo.
Lo quiero compar.
I want to buy it.

Quiero comprarla.
La quiero compar.
I want to buy it.

The sentences above all mean the same thing. But as you learned before, nouns use gender for distinction.

Depending on what you want to buy, the DOP will change.

If you want to buy an apple, the noun is la manzana.

It’s feminine and uses the DOP la when replaced.

Quiero comprar la manzana.
I want to buy the apple.

 

Quiero comprarla.
La quiero comprar.
I want to buy it.


If you want to buy the coffee, the Spanish noun is el café.

It’s masculine and uses the DOP lo when replaced.

Quiero comprar el café.
I want to buy the coffee.


Quiero comprarlo.
Lo quiero comprar.
I want to buy it.


This also applies to people.

If you’re talking about seeing your friend Anna yesterday, you can replace her in a sentence with a DOP so that you don’t have to repeat her name.

“Anna y yo somos muy buenos amigos. De hecho, la vi ayer.”

“Anna and I are good friends. In fact, I saw her yesterday.”

And the same goes for your new friend David.

“Yo conozco a David. Lo conocí hace una semana.”

“I know David. I met him a week ago.”

This structure is also used with multiple people.

“Ellos son mis abuelos. Los quiero mucho.”

“They are my grandparents. I love them a lot.”

“Ella tiene dos hijas y las cuida muy bien.”

“She has two daughters and looks after them really well.”

If the group is mixed, replace the noun with the DOP los.

“La niña ahí es mi prima. Está con su hermano, el otro niño. Normalmente, los llevo al parque todos los días para jugar.”

“The girl over there is my cousin. She’s with her brother, the other boy. Usually, I take them to the park everyday to play every day.”

Follow the same process if someone asks you a question.

¿Has visto mi celular?
Have you seen my cellphone?

No, no lo he visto.
No, I haven’t seen it.


¿Qué hiciste con las llaves?
What did you do with the keys?

Las dejé ahí en la mesa.
I left them there on the table.

This is all you need to start using direct object pronouns.

Using me, te and nos should come easily, because the translation is straightforward.

Spend more time practicing with lo, la and los, las because these DOPs have an extra step for agreement.

DOP has to agree with gender of noun it replaces

DOP has to agree in number of noun it replaces

Remember: the subject pronoun vosotros is not included in this lesson and neither is its DOP, os.

Check out the next lesson, which goes over Spanish verbs and how to conjugate them.

They can seem a bit tricky at first, but with a bit of practice they shouldn’t be too difficult.

You want to get a handle on them early because this where a lot of students have the most trouble.