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Table of contents Chapter 4 4.9 Direct and indirect object together

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Chapter 4: Declensions and Pronouns

  4.9 Direct and indirect object together

Quite often a direct and an indirect object are together in the same sentence: I give Thomas the money. We have the direct object (the money) and Thomas as the indirect object (remember: I give the money to Thomas). If one of the objects is substituted by a pronoun we have the two possibilities:

I give him the money. (= I give the money to him)   or    I give it to Thomas.

However, if you substitute both we get a sentence:                  I give it to him.

In these kind of constructions in English the indirect object pronoun is always used with a preposition (to). The direct object pronoun is put first, the indirect object pronoun with the preposition is directly put after the direct object pronoun.

I give it (direct object) to (preposition) him (indirect object).

In Spanish they are just put together without a preposition. The indirect object pronoun is always first, then the direct object pronoun (meaning the sequence is exactly the other way round compared to English - easy to remember, isn't it?)

I give you the book. I give the book to you. = I give it to you. = Te lo doy.

You give us the house. You give the house to us. = You give it to us. = Nos la regaláis.
Then there is the issue of what happens when le or les meets lo, los, la or las.

  when le or les meets lo, los, la or las - le and les become se

I give him the book.
I give it to him.
Se lo doy
correct
Le lo doy
incorrect
I give them the pen.
I give it to them.
Se lo doy
correct
Les lo doy
incorrect
I give her the house.
I give it to her.
Se la regalo
correct
Le la regalo
incorrect

As you can see the indirect object pronoun (the one that stands in English with the preposition to) will become se instead of the le. Here again the reasons for this is that it's easier to pronounce. Just speak aloud Le lo doy. Doesn't is sound better and isn't it easier for the tongue to say Se lo doy? See!

What's also to notice now that le and les is changed to se: You can't tell whether the object is in singular or in plural. In this situation the only way to give a clear picture is to add the indirect object with a. (Almost like in English!)

I give it to him. = Se lo regalo a él.
I give it to her. = Se lo regalo a ella.
I give it to them. = Se lo regalo a ellos.
I give it to them. = Se lo regalo a ustedes.
I give it to them. = Se lo regalo a ellas.


   
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