Object and reflexive pronouns, possessive adjectives and pronouns
Direct object pronouns
These pronouns are used when the subject of a sentence receives the action of the verb directly.
You can understand what this means if we make a comparison between similar sentences in English and in Spanish.
- I have the book.
- I have it
In the sentences above “it” is called the direct pronoun. These sentences can be said in Spanish as follows
- Tengo el libro.
- Lo tengo.
“It” in Spanish has two versions. For example, instead of book, use letter:
- Tengo la carta (I have the letter)
- La tengo (I have it)
So, you translate both “lo tengo” and “la tengo” as “I have it” to English. The difference is that in Spanish "it" needs to agree with the object it refer to. In the first sentence “libro” is the object. Because it is masculine Spanish noun, i.e. el libro, we need to use “lo”. The object of the second sentence is carta, and it is a feminine noun, that’s why we need to use “la”.
Note also that the object pronouns come immediately before the verb, so you have to say lo/la tengo, not tengo lo/la.
If the object of the sentence is plural, you will use los or las. Otherwise, the same rules hold.
- Tengo los libros (I have the books)
- Los tengo (I have them)
- Tengo las cartas (I have the letters)
- Las tengo (I have them)
You can use object pronouns also in cases where the object is a person, not a thing as opposed to the above examples. Let’s take a English sentence as an example again
- I see Carlos
- I see him
In this sentence, the object pronoun is him. In Spanish, you would say
- veo Carlos
- lo veo
or if the object is a female;
- veo Sandra (I see Sandar)
- la veo (I see her)
Thus, if the object pronouns refer to singular or plural third person, lo/los or la/las is used, in agreement with the gender.
Let’s take another example.
- te conozco (I know you)
- me conoces (You know me)
- nos conoces (You know us)
- os conozco (I know you)
Below all direct object pronouns are summarized:
Indirect object pronouns
Indirect object pronouns are used when a person receives the action of the verb indirectly. They answer the question to whom? They are summarized below
In Spanish, there is a special group of verbs which can be used always with indirect object pronouns. We have a dedicated lesson on them: verbs like gustar.
They look like very much the same as indirect pronouns other than les and les. Instead of them “se” is used. They are summarized below. These pronouns are used with reflexive verbs.You can read about their conjugation in lesson reflexive verbs.
In Spanish, possessive adjectives are called
mi mis my (singular, plural)
tu tus your (singular, plural)
su sus his/her/your (singular, plural)
nuestro(a) nuestros(as) our (singular, plural)
vuestro(a) vuestros(as) your (singular, plural)
su sus their/your (singular, plural)
Mi casa es pequeña my house is small
Mis casas son pequeñas my houses are small.
Tu casa es pequeña your house is small
Tus casas son pequeñas your houses are small
Su casa es pequeña his/her house is small
Sus casas son pequeñas his/her houses are small
! In case of nuestro and vuestro, adjective must agree with the gender
Nuestra casa es pequeña our house is small
Nuestras casas son pequeñas our houses are smallb
Nuestro libro es nuevo our book is new
Nuestros libros son nuevos our books are new
Because libro is masculine and casa is feminine.
Su casa es pequeña their house is small.
Sus casa son pequeñas their houses are small
They are similar to possessive adjectives. Note that in Spanish they are used together with the definite articles.
el mío / la mía
los míos / las mías
el tuyo / la tuya
los tuyos / las tuyas
his, hers, yours
el suyo / la suya
los suyos / las suyas
el nuestro / la nuestra
los nuestros / las nuestras
el vuestro / la vuestra
los vuestros / las vuestras
el suyo / la suya
los suyos / las suyas
Mi casa es nueva. My house is new.
La mía es nueva Mine is new.
La tuya es vieja Yours is old
La suya es grande His/hers/yours is big
La nuestra es pequeña Ours is small
La vuestra es nueva yours is new
La suya es blanca yours is white
Colors in Spanish