te, tu, su, se, lo, la, le

te, tu, su, se, lo, la, le


I was just wondering if anyone can explain to me why, where and when to use words like te, tu, su, se, lo, la, le

updated MAY 22, 2016
posted by Kenton-Wickersham

4 Answers

  • te and lo/la are Direct Object Pronouns. DOPs replace the noun and answer the question "What?" or "Who?". For example, if your telling someone to eat their apple, you would more than likely say "Eat it" than "Eat the apple". So, in Spanish, instead of "Come la manzana" you could just say "Cómela". "la" answers the question "What?" and replaces the noun. They can be used for both people and objects. The 3rd person pronouns must match in gender. So "la" was used for "la manzana" because it is feminine. If it had been "pollo" it would change to "cómelo" because pollo is masculine. If it was more than one apple/chicken, it would change to "cómelas" or "cómelos" in order to match number. The DOPs are:

  • me-me

  • te-you
  • lo/la-it/him/her
  • nos-us
  • os-you all (informal)
  • los/las-them, you all (formal)

  • te, se, and le are Indirect Object Pronouns. IOPs answer the question "For/To Whom?". When used with Direct Object Pronouns, they tell to or for whom an object or action is intended. For example, if one wants to say, "bring the book", they would say "tráelo" with "lo" refering to the book. If you would like to say "bring me the book" you would add the IOP to make it known that the book is intended for you, "tráemelo" with "me" signifying "to me". When combining IOPs and DOPs, the IOP proceeds the DOP. The DOPs are:

  • me-to/for me

  • te-to/for you
  • le/se-to/for him/her/it
  • nos-to/for us
  • os-to/for you all (informal)
  • les/se-to/for them, you all (formal)

*(you can see that 1st and 2nd person singular/plural are the same as the IOPs)

"se" is used when the DOP 3rd person is feminine so that you don't end up with "-lela" or "-lelo". For example, if you wanted to say "bring her the book", it would be incorrect to say "tráelelo". The sound made be the two 'l"s together complicates the flow. Instead, you would say "tráeselo".*

  • tu and su are Simple Possesives. They are used to show possesion of an obeject. They must agree in number. The number is not the number of possesors, but the number of possesions. For example, "my book" would be "mi libro". "My books" would be "mis libros". Because books became plural, the -s was added. And for the 1st and 2nd person plural, they must match in both number and gender. Once more, the gender refers to the gender of the possesion, not the possesor. For example, "our apple" would be "nuestra manzana". "Our apples" would be "nuestras manzana". "Your book" (your being informal plural) would be "Vuestro libro", and "your books" would be "vuestros libros". The Simple Possesives are:

  • mi(s)-my

  • tu(s)-your
  • su(s)-his/her/your (fromal)
  • nuestro/a(s)-our
  • vuestro/a(s)-you
  • su(s)-your/their
updated NOV 19, 2013
edited by mr-solis
posted by mr-solis
Love this explanation! - faithhicks, NOV 19, 2013

I'm only a beginner, but can give you two basic examples...

The first is for verbs that are reflexive (you can tell because when in the infinitve for they end in se. eg. levantarse). This means that the action has two parts, someone who does the action and someone who recieves the action. The implication is such than to say "i wake up" in spanish you have to specify "i wake myself up"

To do this, you conjugate the first part as usual eg. levantar = levanto, then the se changes into me, te, se, nos,os or se depending on who is recieving the action, and is placed infront of the conjugated verb = me levanto. to say i wake him up = se levanto.

Then there is the mi, tu, su, mis, tus, sus which state posession eg. my house = mi casa or thier friends = tus amigos

hope this gives you something to start with.

updated SEP 8, 2009
posted by edwinabrown

Also look at Paralee´s examples.

Direct Object Pronouns

Indirect Object Pronouns

updated MAY 22, 2016
posted by Eddy
Tiny error in the Indirect Object Pronouns tutorial. "Ella está serviendonos la cena. (She is serving us dinner.)" should be "Ella está serviéndonos la cena. (She is serving us dinner.)" - garypopkin, MAY 22, 2016

Look at this excellent tutorial by Lazarus, I think it is very clear.

Atonic pronouns

updated SEP 8, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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