Unit 5.1

Direct Complement Pronouns

Contributors

Introduction

Pronouns [pronombres] are words that replace nouns (people, animals, facts or things) to avoid repetition.

Direct complement pronouns (DO) [pronombres de complemento directo (CD)] can be used instead of the direct complement, which is the person, animal or thing on which the verb’s action is based.

Form

Direct complement pronouns (DO) have the following forms:

Pronombre sujeto Pronombre de CD
Yo me
te
Él/Ella/Usted lo* (le), la
Nosotros/-as nos
Vosotros/-as os
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes los, las

*Lo is also the neuter form of the DO. With the periphrasis hay que + infinitive, it always follows the verb.

Direct complement pronouns (DC) have some regular cases, but there are also exceptions.

Regular cases

Some of the CD pronouns are invariable, and some are variable:

  • the invariable forms (1st and 2nd person forms) are me, te, nos and os;
  • the variable forms in gender and number (3rd person forms) are: lo (masc., sing.), la (fem., sing.), los (masc., pl.) and las (fem., pl.);

They are used to replace the DO of the sentence in order not to repeat the noun;

They are placed before the verb in the indicative, subjunctive and negative imperative and after the affirmative imperative, infinitive and gerund (in which case they form one word);

The position of the DO pronoun is variable in the most common periphrases (e.g., ir a + infinitive) or with modal verbs such as poder and soler (voy a verla / la voy a ver; puedo hacerlo / lo puedo lo hacer);

DO atonic pronouns are preferred to tonic pronouns (la veo × veo a ella).

Exceptions

There are exceptions in which the direct complement pronouns are omitted:

Example

  • Me saludó cuando era joven;
  • Me puse las gafas para mirarte mejor;
  • Os estoy destrozando / Estoy destrozándoos a la brisca de forma limpia;
  • Él la miró y ella lo miró a él, mientras nosotros los mirábamos a ambos. Luego ellos nos miraron nosotros;
  • Las jóvenes abrazaron a sus abuelas y sus abuelas las abrazaron a ellas;
  • El pelo lo tienes bonito, pero no lo lleves liso, no es tu estilo. Llévalo rizado, te pega más.

Omitted:

  • ¿Hay supermercados cerca de tu casa? → Sí, sí hay. (Sí, los hay.);
  • ¿Tienes bici? → No, no tengo. (No, no la tengo.).

Use

Direct complement (DC) pronouns refer to a person, animal or thing known or mentioned.

The neuter pronoun lo is used to refer to the person, animal, ideas, actions, situations or thing on which the verb’s action is based.

Summary

In Spanish, the direct complement pronouns (DC) can be used instead of the direct complement, which is the preson, animal, thing on which the action of the verb falls. The neuter pronoun lo can refer to ideas, actions or situations.

For example:
— «¡Mira esta falda tan preciosa! ¡La quiero!» = La repleces falda to avoid repetition;
— «No hay tiempo para hacerlo. Se lo dije a Ana, pero no me cree». = Lo replace no hay tiempo para hacerlo  to avoid repeating the whole sentence.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on the {Example} sections, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


The exercises are not created yet. If you would like to get involve with their creation, be a contributor.



Translations

This book is available in:
Español (original) | français | Italiano | Polskie

Contributors

License