What is the right indirect object pronoun in this case?
At the end of the lesson on direct and indirect object pronouns we are asked to change sentences to shorter versions using direct and indirect object pronouns. The first sentence given is 'José les tira las serpentinas a ellos' and the posted answer is 'José se las tira'.
Now I think the answer is 'José ses las tira' because the indirect object pronoun for 'a ellos' is les, and as we have the direct object pronoun las in the sentence, then les becomes ses. Am I right? If not, please explain.
At first I was also confused by those Indirect Object Pronouns but when you think about it the Spanish language has some great accommodations.
Let's take your example: 'José les tira las serpentinas a ellos'
If we compress the sentence we are tempted to say: José les las tira.
Now try to repeat this sentence more than three times and soon you will twist your tongue.
In order to avoid this embarrassment the Spanish language provides an elegant solution. Simply replace the IOP "les" by "se" The correct sentence becomes: José se las tira. Isn't that easier to pronounce ?
Same thing goes for the singular form: in a le la or le lo awkward situation simply replace the IOP "le" by "se": Manuel le da un perrito a su hermano - Manuel se lo da.
Fluent isn't it ?
Reference: Lesson 2.3 Parties with Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns
For some odd reason, "ses" just does not exist, even though it seems perfectly sensible. Instead "le" or "les" BOTH become "se" when followed by another pronoun starting with "l".
Ses is not a word in Spanish unless I have simply lost it. Se = them. Les = them. José se (to them) las tira (throws them). José throws them to them. Them being the streamers. Them being the people. There is no ses there is only se.
Thank you to all for your help with and comments on this one.
Now I have a concern that by shortening les to se, it is no longer clear whether a sentence containing se is refering to to him/her or to them.