In English, pronouns replace nouns previously mentioned to avoid unnecessarily repeating them. For example, in the sentence, “John did not come to work, because he was sick,” the pronoun he is used to replace the proper noun John.
We have seen that pronouns can be used in the same way in Spanish. For example, the above sentence in Spanish would be: Juan no vino a trabajar, porque él estaba enfermo. The pronoun él replaces the proper noun Juan.
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There is another way in which pronouns are used: to avoid unnecessarily repeating the direct object of a sentence. The direct object is the object that the action in the sentence is happening to.
For example, in the sentence, “The cat ate the mouse,” the “cat” is the subject, “ate” is the verb, and “mouse” is the direct object. If you wanted to replace the direct object noun with a pronoun, you could say, “The cat ate it.” The pronoun, “it,” would refer to the mouse.
In Spanish, the construction of direct object pronouns is a bit different from English. The direct object comes before the verb, not afterwards.
Let’s look at some direct object pronouns now...
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you (formal, masculine), him, it
you (formal, feminine), her
you (familiar, plural)
you (formal, plural), them (masculine)
you (formal, plural), them (feminine)
Por ejemplo (for example):
Estela tiene el libro. becomes Estela lo tiene.
Estela has the book. becomes Estela has it.
Estoy comprando unos zapatos. becomes Los estoy comprando.
I am buying some shoes. becomes I am buying them.
The nice thing about direct object pronouns is that they’re quick and simple, once you get the hang of them.
On the other hand, if you need to spell out the direct object and use a proper noun, you need to be careful about one thing. When human beings are direct objects, you need to add an “a” in front of the direct object noun.
Vamos a ver a mi abuela.
We are going to see my grandmother.
Voy a traer a Maria.
I'm going to bring Maria.
Looking for more? Here are more lessons on Spanish pronouns:
See you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!
Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish
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