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Double object pronouns in Spanish

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direct object pronoun plus an indirect object pronoun turns into a double object pronoun

The English equivalent is usually an object pronoun plus a prepositional phrase (e.g. give it to me).

Example: 

  • A la niña le gusta esta falda. Se la voy a comprar. (The child likes this skirt. I will buy it for her.)
  • Aún espero tu correo. Me lo puedes enviar por favor? (I am still waiting for your mail. Could you please send it to me?)

Double object pronoun structure

The indirect object pronoun always precedes the direct object pronoun

Indirect object pronounDirect object pronoun
me (to me)me (me)
te (to you)te (you)
le < se (to him/her/it/ form. you)

lo (him, masc. it, form. you)

la (her, fem. it, form. you)

nos (to us)nos (us)
os (to you)os (you)
les < se (to them/form. you)

los (them, form. you)

las (fem. them, form. you)

Examples: 

  • Tu gafas? Te las devuelvo ahora mismo. (Your glasses? I will give them back to you right now.)
  • Tengo un problema. Os lo voy a explicar. (I have a problem. I will explain it to you.)

enlightenedWhen the indirect object pronouns le and les are followed by the direct object pronouns lo/la/los/las, they turn into SE

Example: 

Se la entregó antes de salir de la oficina. (He handed it over to him before leaving the office.)

For a more in-depth explanation, look at the direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns subpages. 

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Use

Double object pronouns avoid repetitions and simplify messages. 

Example: 

  • Traigo el desayuno a la cama a la abuela. (I bring grandmother breakfast in bed.)
  • Se lo traigo a la cama. (I bring it to her in bed.)

enlightenedTo clarify the recipient of the action, a preposition plus noun or pronoun is usually added.

  Example: 

Se la voy a dar a los niños. No se la voy a dar a ti. (I will give it to the children. I won't give it to you.)

Placement 

Double object pronouns are generally placed before the conjugated form of the verb

Examples: 

Mira la falda que lleva mi hija. Se la compré ayer en El Corte Inglés. (Look at the skirt my daughter is wearing. I bought it to her yesterday at El Corte Inglés.)

enlightenedHowever, double object pronoun placement depends on the conjugated form of the verb.

   Pay attention to the following cases: 

  • negative and affirmative commands
  • infinitive
  • gerund

1. Placement in commands

With negative commands, the pronoun precedes the verb which refers to the command. 

Example: 

¡No me lo digas! (Don't say it to me!)

With affirmative commandsattach the pronoun to the verb which indicates the command

Structure: verb + indirect object pronoun + direct object pronoun).

Example: 

  • ¡Manda un ramo de flores a tu abuela(Send your grandmother a bouquet of flowers!)
  • ¡Mándaselo*! (Send it to her!)

____________________________________________________________________________________

* If the stressed syllable of the verb is the next-to-last one (not counting the pronoun), add the accent mark

2. Placement with infinitive forms

When used with infinitive forms, the pronoun occurs after the infinitive and it is attached to it 

Structure: infinitive + indirect object pronoun + direct object pronoun

Example: 

Su padre se ha muerto. Acabo de decírselo. (His father has passed away. I have just said it to her.)

enlightenedOtherwise, it can be placed before the verb which precedes the infinitive form.

  Example: 

Su padre se ha muerto. Se lo acabo de decir. (His father has passed away. I have just said it to her.)

3. Placement with gerund forms

When used with gerund forms, the pronoun occurs after the verb and it is attached to it

Structure: infinitive + indirect object pronoun + direct object pronoun

Example:

  • Necesito que me mandes ese correo. (I need you to send me that email.)
  • Estoy envíandotelo ahora mismo. (I am sending it to you right know.)

enlightenedOtherwise, it can be placed before the verb which precedes the gerund form.

  Example: 

  • Necesito que me mandes ese correo. (I need you to send me that email.)
  • Te lo estoy envíando ahora mismo. (I am sending it to you right know.)

Exercises

  1. Spanish double object pronoun practice quiz
  2. Spanish double object pronouns - Fill in the blanks
  3. Spanish double object pronoun placement - Fill in the blanks

Spanish double object pronoun practice quiz


Spanish double object pronouns - Fill in the blanks


Spanish double object pronoun placement - Fill in the blanks


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