Chapter 5   --   The Pronouns

The Subject Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that stands for someone or something.   In English, the pronouns are used frequently, and are required in order to indicate who is performing an action.
For example, we say “I wrote this grammar.”   Because of the fact that Spanish verbs include a reference to the person doing the action, the subject pronouns are used less frequently than in English.
The subject pronouns follow.

English Spanish
I Yo
You (familiar, singular)
He Él
She Ella
You Usted (polite, singular)
Who Quién (singular)
We Nosotras (feminine plural)
We Nosotros (masculine or mixed plural)
You Vosotras (familiar feminine plural)
You Vosotros (familiar masculine or mixed plural)
They Ellas (feminine plural)
They Ellos (masculine or mixed plural)
You Ustedes (polite plural)
Who Quienes (plural)

In Spain, the vosotros form is common, but in Latin America, vosotros is not used in ordinary speech, and ustedes is used instead.

Spanish NEVER uses the pronoun it as the subject of a sentence.

            examples:         Es verdad (It is true)    Son incorrectos (They are incorrect)       Llueve (It is raining)    Nieva (It is snowing)

Prepositional pronouns

After prepositions (words such as about, behind, for, with, to, and so on), the subject pronouns are used, except that yo is changed to , and is changed to .  
The other pronouns remain the same.

para (for me) sin nosotros (without us)
a ti (to you) por vosotros (by you)
para él (for him) sobre ellos (about them)
a ella (to her) de ellas (from them)
con usted (with you) para ustedes (for you)
con quién (with whom) a quienes (to whom)

The Object Pronouns

Pronouns can be the object of a verb, that is the person to whom an action is directed, or the thing involved in the action.
(example:   I asked him to come.   He bought it for me.)   The object pronouns are:

English Spanish
me me
you te
him, a masculine thing, unknown  lo
her or a feminine thing la
whom quién
us nos
you (familiar plural) os
them, masculine or mixture of things los
them, women or feminine things las
whom quienes

In English, object pronouns follow the verb, but in Spanish they precede the verb.

          examples:     John saw me.                         Juan me vió.                  I saw him.                     Yo lo .

                              Did you see the elephant?     ¿Viste el elefante?           Yes, I saw it.                 Sí, lo

                              Did you see the flowers?      ¿Viste las flores?              Yes, I saw them.           Sí, las

                              Did you buy the books?       ¿Compraste los libros?    Yes, I bought them.       Sí, los compré.


The Indirect Pronouns

These pronouns are the same as the object pronouns, except that le is used in place of lo or la, and les is used in place of los or las.  
When le or les precede la, las, lo, or los, they are changed to se. In English, the indirect object is almost always identified by the preposition to.
In the case of "I threw the ball to John", the direct object (the thing that was thrown) was the ball, which was thrown to John.
In this case, John is the indirect object. When a pronoun is used to refer to John (in this example), that pronoun will be an indirect pronoun.

Some examples follow.

          Joseph told the story to me.              José dijo el cuento a mi .

          Joseph told it to me.                         José lo dijo a mi. (in this case, the pronoun lo refers to the story, el cuento, which is masculine singular)

          Joseph told me it.                             José melo dijo.(In this sentence, me means to me, and lo refers to the story.]


          Charles gave the money to John.       Carlos dió el dinero a Juán.

          Charles gave it to John.                     Carlos lo dió a Juán. (in this case, the pronoun lo refers to the money, el dinero, which is masculine singular)

          Charles gave him it.                           Carlos selo dió. (in this case, se refers to him, and lo refers to the money.)


          She will give the books to us               Ella dará los libros a nosotros.

          She will them to us.                            Ella los dará a nosotros. (in this case, the pronoun los refers to the books, los libros, masculine plural)

          She will give us them.                          Ella noslos dará. (in this case, nos refers to us, and los refers to the books)


In an affirmative command, the verb is placed first, just as in English.

                   Give the book to me.                Dé el libro a mi.

                   Give me the book.                    me el libro.

                   Give me it.                                melo.   [ lo refers to the book.]


In Spanish, negative commands are always arranged as in the following examples.

          Don’t send me the flowers.                No me envíe las flores.

          Don’t send me them.                         No melas envíe.


When used in combination, a fixed pattern determines the placement of the pronouns.   The personal pronoun comes first, then the pronoun which refers to a thing or idea follows.

examples:    John brought me some flowers.        Juán me trajo unas flores.

                  John brought me them.                      Juán melas trajo. [In this sentence, me refers to me, and las refers to the flowers.]


                  Henry brought you a gift.                 Enrico te trajo un regalo.

                  Henry brought it to you.                  Enrico telo trajo.           [In this sentence, te refers to you, and lo refers to the gift.]


                   Joseph gave us the bill.                      José nos dió la cuenta.

                   Joseph gave us it.                              José nosla dió.             [In this sentence, nos refers to us, and la refers to the bill.]


                   Helen sent them a letter.                     Elena les mandó una carta.

                   Helen sent them it.                              Elena sela mandó.         [In these sentences, les and se refer to them, and la refers to the letter.]


In those cases where a phrase is used, the translation will match.

examples:    Mary sent a letter to them.                María mandó una carta a ellos.

                   Mary sent it to them.                         María la mandó a ellos.

In this example, una carta (feminine singular) was sent.   Thus, the pronoun la (feminine singular) was used.


This book is available from under item number 3352644. Books purchased from Lulu are accompanied by a complete list of irregular verbs and all of their forms.

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