Lesson 4.9 Indirect Objects

Spanish51

Spanish51

Why in the following example is the indirect object pronoun left out:
Elena escribe un mensaje para ti.  Why not: Elena te escribe un mensaje para ti.
Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

¡Hola Spanish51!

Gracias por su pregunta. Let's dive right in: the reason why the indirect object pronoun isn't included in this sentence is because it would be unnecessarily repetitive. We can see this if we take a look at the different ways we can say this sentence in Spanish a little more closely.

Elena escribe un mensaje para ti.

Here, para ti is the part of the sentence that has the meaning of "to you."

Elena te escribe un mensaje.

Here, the indirect object pronoun te is the part of the sentence that has the meaning of "to you."

So if we put both te and para ti together in the same sentence, like so...

"Elena te escribe un mensaje para ti."

... we actually end up saying something like "Elena writes you a message to you." So it's unnecessary and a bit odd to have both te and para ti in one sentence.

It's true that you can see this kind of repetition when we're using le and les, as in the example Jenny le está escribiendo una carta a su padre. In cases like these, the repetition is for clarity, since le and les can refer to so many different people ("you," "him," "her" or "them"). Since te is pretty unambiguous, meaning only "you," we don't need this extra repetition.

I hope that this has cleared everything up!

Saludos,

Liss
Spanish51

Spanish51

Thank you Liss for your comment.  However, I thought in Spanish the indirect pronoun was mandatory and the para ti was optional
Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

¡Hola Spanish51!

Ultimately, our conclusion is no: the indirect object pronoun is not always mandatory. You can happily use para ti without te, and your sentence will both sound perfectly fine and still be grammatically correct. 

When you are using a sentence where le or les would apply for the third person, it is also generally optional; however, it is more common to include the indirect object pronoun. So if you want to say "Elena writes a message to your sister," it is more common to use the optional le and write Elena le escribe un mensaje a tu hermana.

This is a bit of a tricky rule to nail down, and there are of course going to be some exceptions; for instance, certain verbs require an indirect object pronoun to be present (e.g. gustar), and putting the indirect object before the verb will require the indirect object pronoun to be present (e.g. A tu hermana le escribe un mensaje). In most cases, though, you  aren't required to put the indirect object pronoun in. 

I hope that this was helpful! And thank you very much for your question - we will look into adding something on this to the lesson to help keep things as clear as possible.

Saludos,

Liss
Spanish51

Spanish51

Thank you Liss for your input on this issue.  It certainly clarifies and improves my understanding of indirect objects.  
Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

¡De nada, Spanish51! I'm glad that it was helpful! :)

Saludos,

Liss

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