Indirect objects are the lucky noun phrases that receive the direct objects in a sentence. Just like direct object pronouns replace direct objects, indirect object pronouns are the replacements for indirect objects, which are always personal nouns.
Indirect Object Pronouns
Below you can find the chart which separates the indirect object pronouns into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person as well as singular or plural. Notice that the English definition for each indirect object includes "to/for" since they always indicate where the object is going.
Indirect Object Pronouns
|1st person||me (to/for me)||nos (to/for us)|
|2nd person||te (to/for you informal)||os (to/for you informal)|
|3rd person||le (to/for you formal, he, she, it)||les (to/for them, you formal)|
Copy Cat Forms
Notice that the 1st and 2nd person pronouns are the same as the direct object pronouns and that the 3rd person pronouns, "le" and "les" do not indicate any gender.
Below you will find some examples of indirect object pronouns. Notice that all the sentences also have a direct object. Since the indirect object tells us "where" something is going, that "something" must be a direct object. All direct object are italicized and all indirect objects are bold.
When Do I Have an Indirect Object?
Always ask the question "To whom?" or "For whom?" after each sentence. Your answer is your indirect object.
- Él compró unos regalos para nosotros. (He bought some gifts for us.) - For whom? For us. Us = nos
- Él nos compró unos regalos. (He bought us some gifts.)
Indirect object pronouns follow the same placement rules as direct object pronouns: in sentences with one simple verb, the indirect object goes before the verb.
When to Use the Indirect Object Pronoun
If there is an indirect object in a sentence, there MUST be an indirect object pronoun! You can also have the prepositional phrase "para nosotros" or "a Miguel" to add emphasis, but you can NOT only have the prepositional phrase.
- Yo le tiro la pelota a Miguel. (I throw the ball to Miguel.) - To whom? To Miguel. Miguel = le
- Yo le tiro la pelota. (I throw the ball to him.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota a María. (I throw the ball to María.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota. (I throw the ball to her.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota a usted. (I throw the ball to you.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota. (I throw the ball to you.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota a la pared. (I throw the ball to the wall.)
- Yo le tiro la pelota. (I throw the ball to it.)
Notice how the indirect object (le) can mean "to him" as well as "to her," "to you," and "to it." When indirect objects "me" and "you" follow para, they change to "mí" and "tí" respectively. Do not use "para yo" or "para tú." (You may recognize this from "A mí me gusta.")
- Él me compra una rosa para mí. (He buys a rose for me.)
- Él me compra una rosa. (He buys me a rose.)
- Mi madre te compró un libro para tí. (My mother bought a book for you.)
- Mi madre te compró un libro. (My mother bought you a book.)
Attach indirect object pronouns to the end of infinitives, gerunds, or affirmative commands.
- Voy a contarles un secreto. (I am going to tell you a secret.)
- Ella está serviendonos la cena. (She is serving us dinner.)
- Dame algo bonito. (Give me something pretty.)
Below is a list of words that take a person as an indirect object in Spanish.
Common Indirect Object Verbs
|comprar(le) algo||to buy something for someone|
|contar(le) algo||to tell something to someone|
|dar(le) algo||to give something to someone|
|decir(le) algo||to say something to someone|
|escribir(le) algo||to write something to someone|
|mandar(le) algo||to send something to someone|
|mostrar(le) algo||to show something to someone|
|pedir(le) algo||to ask something of someone|
|regalar(le) algo||to give (a gift) to someone|
|servir(le) algo||to serve something to someone|
|traer(le) algo||to bring something to someone|
Fill in the blank with the correct indirect object pronoun.
- Samuel ___|__ muestra su bicicleta a nosotros.
- Carmen ___|\___|_ escribió una carta a su familia.
- ¿Está sirviendo___|\___|_ la cena a la gente?
- Él ___|__ compra un regalo para mí.
- Prepara___|__ el almuerzo para los niños.
- Silvia ___|\___| dijo un secreto grande a sus amigas.
- Estamos mandando___|\___| un paquete a ustedes.
- Mi abuelo ___|__ mostró una película extraña a la familia.
- Quiero regalar___|__ un anillo para tí.
- ___|__ pide un favor a Juan.