The sentences that follow are examples of both object pronouns being used together. The direct object is in bold, while the indirect object is italicized.
Resources for further reading:
To refresh your memory, the direct and indirect object pronouns that you will use in combination are as follows:
|lo||le||"you (formal)" / "him"|
|la||le||"you (fem.; formal) / "her"|
|os||os||"you (plural; Spain)"|
|los||les||"you (plural)" / "them"|
|las||les||"you (fem.; plural)" / "them (fem.)"|
When you combine the direct and indirect object pronouns in a sentence, you have two options:
Note that you must add an accent on the infinitive ending to preserve the correct pronunciation.
In English, you can switch the order of the direct and indirect objects. For example:
In Spanish, on the other hand, the indirect object pronoun will ALWAYS come before the direct object pronoun.
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Mi profesor me enseña a hablar español.
My professor teaches me to speak Spanish.
Mi profesor me lo enseña.
Do Mary and John finish first?
Nos arreglan los boletos de avión.
They arrange our plane tickets for us.
Nos los arreglan.
They arrange them for us.
Paula te repara la computadora.
Paula repairs the computer for you.
Paula te la repara.
Paula repairs it for you.
Jorge le pide los libros a Carla.
George asks Carla for the books.
Jorge se los pide.
George asks her for them.
As with so many irregularities in the Spanish language, the change of the indirect object pronoun in the third person makes pronunciation easier.
Try saying, Le lo voy a dar.
Now, try saying, Se lo voy a dar.
Both of which mean: "I’m going to give it to him." Can you hear why le changes to se?
Les servimos la comida.
We serve them the food.
Se la servimos.
We serve them it.
Le muestra las casas.
He shows her the houses.
Se las muestra.
He shows her them.
Les explicamos los chistes a Uds.
We explain the jokes to you.
Se los explican.
They explain them to you.
The word se can refer to any number of indirect pronouns: him, her, it, them, you…. Just as it is recommended to add a clarification after le, if your audience does not know to whom you are referring, it is also recommended to add a clarification after the use of se if the indirect object is not clear.
To do so, use se as you normally would, then append one of the following to the end of your sentence:
¿A quién le servimos la comida?
To whom do we serve the food?
Se la servimos a él.
We serve it to him.
¿A quién le muestra él la casa?
To whom does he show the house?
Se la muestra a ellos.
He shows it to them.
¿A quién les explicamos los chistes?
To whom do we explain the jokes?
Se los explicamos a Uds.
We explain them to you.
Looking for more? Here are more lessons on Spanish pronouns:
See you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!
Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish
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