"Me ato los zapatos" or "Me ato me zapatos"

"Me ato los zapatos" or "Me ato me zapatos"


I just did lesson 2.5 - Reflexive Verbs and the Morning Routine, and I was wonder if you would say "Me ato LOS zapatos" or if you would say "Me ato ME zapatos" Or does it not matter which? Please help! smile

updated ABR 8, 2012
posted by Theet

6 Answers


Me ato ME zapatos

The "ME" before "zapatos" is wrong.

You could say, Me ato mis zapatos , but I think that this would be unnecessary because you are using the reflexive verb to indicate that you are performing the action on yourself.

I think that Me ato los zapatos would probably be the best way to go with this

updated AGO 23, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
Yes. I believe that is correct. - Nick-Cortina, AGO 23, 2009
Thanks :) - Theet, AGO 23, 2009
No hay de que :-) - Izanoni1, AGO 23, 2009

"Me ato los zapatos." is correct.

You are, in fact, saying "For me I tie the shoes." That's just the way spanish is.

By the way, the "me" at the beginning of the sentence is not taking the place of "I." The word "I" is built into the verb "ato."

  • ato = "i tie"
  • los zapatos = "the shoes
  • me = "for me / for myself" (in this sentence, at least)

"Me" is the indirect object of the sentence. In English, we usually put the indirect object after the verb, but in spanish, the indirect object is usually in front of the verb.

updated OCT 29, 2011
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
"Ato" would be "I tie". "Até" would be "I tied." - Nick-Cortina, AGO 23, 2009
thanks...i will correct the post. - webdunce, AGO 23, 2009

"Me" is the indirect object of the sentence

You do realize that you give beginners like myself a headache with these explanations, don't you?

i.o. pronouns: me, te, le, nos, os, les

d.o. pronouns: me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las

reflexive pronouns: me, te, se, nos, os, se

In the third person, at least, these are not the same pronouns.

So to arbitrarily say that "me" is a reflexive pronoun (myself) in the sentence and also say that it is the direct object pronoun (to me) drives me crazy.

However, after looking at Lazarus' last several posts I have noted that he refers to these pronouns (in this thread) as reflexive direct object and reflexive indirect object pronouns.

Give me a break. What is the 3rd person reflexive indirect or 3rd person reflexive direct object pronoun? Is it se, or le, les, or lo, la, las, los?

If I'm following the pattern of terminology correctly then:

  • se is the 3rd person reflexive indirect object pronoun
  • se is the 3rd person reflexive direct object pronoun
  • se is the reflexive pronoun when not used as an object pronoun (as in impersonal se)

le, les are the 3rd person non-reflexive indirect object pronouns

lo, la, las, los are the 3rd person non-reflexive object pronouns

Someone, please, give me an aspirin.

updated AGO 23, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
i'm a beginner, too -- very much so. - webdunce, AGO 23, 2009
btw, i was quite happy with my progress in spanish until i hit this "se" wall...auughhh. - webdunce, AGO 23, 2009

Assuming that "me" IS the IO, let me break down my logic a bit. in spanish, when literally translated into english, they are saying:

me i tie the shoes. (and wrongly or rightly, i'm saying the "me" is an IO).

we put our indirect objects after the verb and before the direct objects...so, it becomes:

i tie me the shoes.

that doesn't quite make sense in english. but, in english, we can put "to" or "for" in front of an indirect object and move it behind the direct object (once we do this, the pronoun is no longer the indirect object...it is now just part of a prepositional phrase...but the meaning is the same)...so it becomes...

i tie the shoes for me. (it almost makes sense now)

but, in english, whenever a pronoun refers back to a noun or another pronoun in the same clause, we must use the reflexive pronoun...so it becomes...

i tie the shoes for myself. (which makes sense in english, but sounds really wierd)

This doesn't mean that spanish is or is not using a reflexive pronoun - but the english certainly must.

In english, whether I write "me" or "myself" has nothing to do with grammatical function. It's merely a question of whether i am refering back to a noun or pronoun in this same clause. if i am, then i use the reflexive pronoun. otherwise, i use the standard pronoun. (On rare occasions, the noun/pronoun being referred back to may not appear in the clause and you might still use the reflexive.) The reflexive pronoun (in english) can be used as a subject, a DO, or an IO.

  • "They they went there" becomes "They themselves went there" (reflexive used as a subject)
  • "He gave him to the cause" becomes "He gave himself to the cause" (reflexive used as a DO...if "him" had not referred to the "he" in this clause, then it would remain "him")
  • "I poured me a drink" becomes "I poured myself a drink" (reflexive used as an IO)

That's for english...for spanish, i am in a fog.

but, from an english perspective at least, the "me" in "me ato los zapatos" is reflexive because "me" refers to the "yo" that's built into the verb "ato" (regardless of whether it truly is an IO or not). whether "me" in this sentence is reflexive from a spanish perspective, i do not know. That is to say, I don't know if spanish considers a pronoun reflexive just because it refers back to a noun or pronoun in the same clause.

Using "me" where "myself" should be used is quite common in conversational english. "I poured me a drink." doesn't sound odd at all. Twist it a bit to "i me poured a drink"...now pretend the "i" could be built into the verb as in spanish..."me poured a drink." Now you have a construction similar to "me puse los zapatos." But i find it more helpful to think of it as "(for) me (i) poured a drink."

man, what a rambling post...i apologize that i couldn't write it more concisely.

updated AGO 23, 2009
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce

believe me...i'm as confused as you are...i'm basing my explanation on lazarus's example of "se puso los zapatos." I thought the pattern was exactly the same.

you know, honestly, i'm having problems seeing "me" as an indirect object in "me ato los zapatos". in english at least, the IO receives the DO. i really don't see that here. so, i maybe i'm wrong...perhaps it's not the IO.

Maybe "se" is the IO in "se puso los zapatos," but "me" is not the IO in "me ato los zapatos." it's definitely possible.

i'd love to get ahold of a spanish grammar book written by spanish people for spanish people.

updated AGO 23, 2009
posted by webdunce

ME is reflexive so it is used if you are tying your own shoes and LOS is used if you are just tying any other shoes

updated AGO 23, 2009
posted by Pete-Rosenau
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