Language Guide
Pronouns
Indirect Object Pronoun Placement

Indirect Object Pronoun Placement

Quick Answer

Indirect object pronouns in Spanish generally follow the same placement rules as direct object pronouns.

Let’s take a look at the rules for indirect object placement with simple verbs, compound verbs, and commands.

Simple Verbs

In sentences with simple verbs (verbs made up of only one word), the indirect object pronoun goes before the verb.

Affirmative Sentences

In affirmative sentences with simple verbs, the indirect object comes directly before the verb.

For example:

Le tiro la pelota a Miguel.
I throw the ball to Miguel.
 
Me compra una rosa.
He buys me a rose.
 
Mi madre te compró un libro.
My mother bought you a book.
 

Negative Sentences

In negative sentences with simple verbs, the indirect object comes after the negative adverb (such as no ) and directly before the verb.

For example:

No le tira la pelota a Miguel.
He doesn’t throw the ball to him.
 
No me compra una rosa.
He doesn’t buy a rose for me.
 
Mi madre nunca te compró un libro.
My mother never bought you a book.
 

Compound Verbs

In sentences with compound verbs (verbs made up of multiple words), there are two options for where the indirect object pronoun can go.

1. Before the conjugated verb

The first option essentially follows the same rules as those for simple verbs: the indirect object comes before the conjugated verb.

For example:

Les voy a contar un secreto.
I am going to tell you a secret.
 
No nos está sirviendo la cena.
She isn't serving us dinner.
 

2. Attached to an infinitive or present participle

The second option is to attach the indirect object pronoun to an infinitive or a present participle.

For example:

Voy a contarles un secreto.
I am going to tell you a secret.
 
No está sirviéndonos la cena.
She isn't serving us dinner.
 

Note the accent on sirviéndonos. This is used to preserve the original stress of the verb form.

Commands

Indirect object pronouns are attached to affirmative commands, but are placed between the verb in negative commands.

Affirmative Commands

For example:

Dame el libro.
Give me the book.
 
Háblame de ti.
Tell me about yourself.
 

Negative Commands

No me des el libro.
Don’t give me the book.
 
No le des nada.
Don't give him anything.
 

Note the addition of the accent on háblame.You can find more about adding accents when using object pronouns here!

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