Language Guide
Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish

Direct Object Pronouns in Spanish

Quick Answer

A direct object pronoun (un pronombre de objeto directo ) replaces a direct object, which is a noun that directly receives the action of a verb in a sentence.

Just like subject pronouns replace the subject noun in a sentence, direct object pronouns replace the direct object noun in a sentence, which can be a person, thing, noun phrase, or nominalized clause.

Direct Object Pronouns

The table below shows the different forms direct objects can take in Spanish.

First personme  (me)nos  (us)
Second personte  (informal you)os  (informal you)
Third personlo, la  (it, him, her, formal you)los, las  (them, formal you)

Direct Object Pronouns at Work

Let's take a look at how direct object pronouns can do the work of direct objects in Spanish sentences.

Direct Object Pronouns and People

A direct object pronoun can take the place of a direct object referring to a person. In the first sentence below, the direct object is mi mamá. It can be replaced by the direct object pronoun la, as shown in the second example.

Llamaron a mi mamá.
They called my mother.
La llamaron.
They called her.

Direct Object Pronouns and Things

In the first sentence below, la pelota receives the action of tiró, and thus is the direct object of the sentence. It is singular, feminine, and a thing, so it is in the third person. Therefore, you can replace it with the direct object pronoun la, as shown in the second example.

Sandra tiró la pelota.
Sandra threw the ball.
Sandra la tiró.
Sandra threw it.

Direct Objects and Phrases

In the first sentence in the pair of examples below, muchos libros receives the action of leen. It is plural, masculine, and a plural noun phrase, so it can be replaced with the direct object pronoun los, as shown in the second example.

Los niños leen muchos libros.
The boys read lots of books.
Los niños los leen.
The boys read them.

Want to learn more? Check out out articles on direct object pronoun placement and using direct and indirect object pronouns together.

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