Where my Spanish really falls apart is in forming seemingly simple sentences that are dense with pronouns. I will give some examples, but more than seeing how these translate, which would still be informative, I'm hoping for suggestions on strategies to really get a firm grasp on this. A few examples.

  1. She gave them (some things) to him
  2. Why haven't they asked you about it yet?
  3. Tell her to bring it to me.
  4. I saw him tell her about it.
  5. Ask them to leave it for me.
  6. They told him it was for her.
  7. You told me they had them.
  8. She asked him to mention it to me.
  9. They said I could give those to you.

If I could readily form these kinds of constructions I feel like I would be making major strides.

3 Answers



Personally I think that a good grammar review book is the way to go. These books explain all the grammar step by step and give you lots of pencil and paper exercises. (There are also great lessons on this site, but I need to use a pencil when I study...)

However, as some general tips...

  • Make sure you understand the difference between subject, direct object, and indirect object pronouns. Leave out most subject pronouns, which will clear up your sentences.

    • The direct object pronouns are me, te, lo/la, nos, os, los/las. The indirect object pronouns are the same except ALL the 3rd person pronouns become "le".

    • When you have both an indirect and a direct pronoun, the indirect always goes first, and in most cases all pronouns go before the verbs, so "she gives it to me" becomes" me lo da".

    • Your longer examples above involve 2 clauses (she told him to give me..), which gets into needing or not needing the subjunctive. Save that for later!

I think you are right in general, getting the hang of all those "little" words will really increase your fluency. Try reading simple stories and puzzling out what all those pronouns and other small words actually mean. Once you can understand pronouns when you see them, you will also find it easier to write using pronouns.

¡Buena suerte!

  • Dec 10, 2009
  • | Edited by kattya Dec 10, 2009
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  • Muchisimas gracias. Muy útil. - Brett1971 Dec 10, 2009


Leave out most subject pronouns, which will clear up your sentences.

Can you clarify/expand on that a bit?




Most sentences don't require the subject, because its given with the verb. So instead of saying "ella me lo da", you just say "me lo da". Leaving in too many subject pronouns makes the sentences sound funny, and leaving in too many "yo" pronouns ("I" do this, "I" do that) comes off as rather egotistical, "I" think. smile

  • Dec 10, 2009
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  • Got it. Thanks again. - Brett1971 Dec 10, 2009