70 Capítulo 7: Sección 2: Los complementos indirectos

Section Goal

In this section, students will learn how to manipulate sentences to incorporate indirect object pronouns.


Indirect Object Pronouns

Personal Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun
Yo Me
Él/Ella/Usted Le
Nosotr@s Nos
Vosotr@s Os
Ustedes, ell@s Les

As we start with indirect object pronouns, it is important to review a couple of terms first:

  • Subject: The doer of the action
  • Verb: The action, conjugated based on the subject/doer of the action
  • Direct object: The receiver of the action of the verb
    • To easily identify the direct object, ask yourself who or what is being “verbed.”
  • Indirect object: The receiver of the direct object (can be identified by determining to whom / for whom / from whom an action with a direct object is done)

Every sentence has a subject and verb. Not every sentence has a direct object or indirect object. But even if you state the actual indirect object (a mis hijos), you must use the indirect object pronoun (les).

When you have an indirect object in your sentence, the indirect object pronoun is required. It shows to whom / for whom / from whom an action with a direct object is done.

The indirect object pronoun goes in front of the conjugated verb. It can also be attached to an infinitive or an affirmative command.

For example:

  • I send my mom flowers. / Le mando flores (a mi mamá).
    • Subject: I
    • Verb: send
    • Direct object (what’s being verbed?): flowers/flores
    • Indirect object (who received the flowers?): my mom / le … a mi mamá
  • I give my friends gifts. / Les doy regalos (a mis amigos).
    • Subject: I
    • Verb: give
    • Direct object (what’s being verbed?): gifts/regalos
    • Indirect object (to whom was it given?): my friends / les … a mis amigos
  • I make lunches for my kids. / Les preparo lonches (a mis hijos).
    • Subject: I
    • Verb: make lunches
    • Direct object (what’s being verbed?): lunches/lonches
    • Indirect object (for whom were they made?) my kids / les … a mis hijos
  • The doctor is going to take a blood test (from me). / El médico (a mí) me va a sacar una prueba de sangre (o Va a sacarme una prueba de sangre).
    • Subject: The doctor
    • Verb: is going to take
    • Direct object (what’s being verbed?): the blood test / la prueba de sangre
    • Indirect object (from whom was it taken?): me / (a mí) … me
  • You have to tell me the truth. / Tienes que decirme la verdad.
    • Subject: You
    • Verb: have to tell
    • Direct object (what’s being verbed?): the truth / la verdad
    • Indirect object (from whom was it taken?): me/me

Native speakers often use both the indirect object and the indirect object pronoun for added clarification or emphasis or just because they are in the habit of doing so. When using the actual indirect object, be sure to put “a” in front of the person’s name, title, or pronoun. I like to call it additional or “a”ptional information.

  • Example sentence: I give my friends gifts. / Les doy regalos a mis amigos.
    • Les is the direct object pronoun and must be used
    • a mis amigos is the redundant additional or “a”ptional information

Yes, it is strange that the indirect object pronoun is required and the indirect object itself is optional. While it may seem redundant to use both, it is considered correct grammar, and native speakers use both together all the time. Where this additional information goes in the sentence is quite flexible.

Indirect Objects with additional / “a”ptional Information
A Nombre

  • A Emilia
  • A Antonio y a mí
  • A Guadalupe y a Jaime

  • A mi padre
Pronombre preposicional

  • A mí
  • A ti
  • A usted/el/ella
  • A nosotr@s
  • A vosotr@s
  • A ustedes/ellos/ellas

Actividad 8. Los complementos indirectos

Instrucciones: Completa el espacio en blanco con el pronombre de objeto indirecto correcto. Utilice la información adicional provista en cada oración como ayuda.


  • Mi madre me da dinero para las compras del supermercado.
  1. Mis abuelos ______ regalan calcetines para la Navidad a mi hermano y a mí.
  2. Yo ______ preparo la comida a mis hijos.
  3. Yo ______ doy de comer a mis perros dos veces al día.
  4. Profesora, ¿usted ______ va a dar una prueba a nosotros mañana?
  5. Mi amor, a ti ______ doy mi corazón.
A bouquet of flowers
Picture this Bouquet” by Ankakay is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Actividad 9. Más complementos indirectos

Actividad 10. Las traducciones

Instrucciones: Complete los espacios en blanco para completar las traducciones a continuación. Usa el banco de palabras de verbos para ayudarte.

  • Dar – to give
  • Prestar – to loan
  • Pedir (e:i) – to order
  • Mandar – to send
  • Leer – to read
  • Servir (e:i) – to serve
  • Decir (e:i) – to say / to tell (yo form, digo)
  • Alquilar – to rent
  • Traer – to bring (yo form, traigo)
  • Enseñar – to teach
  • Hacer – to make / to do (yo form, hago)
  • Repetir (e:i) – to repeat
I read a book to my daughters. Yo _____ ______ un libro a _____.
The professor teaches us a lot of vocabulary. La profesora ______ ______ mucho vocabulario.
My girlfriend brings me coffee. Mi novia ________ ________ café.
I don’t loan my sister clothing. Yo no ________ ________ ropa a ________.
My sister repeats the gossip to my mom. Mi hermana ________ ________ los chismes a ________.
My boyfriend gives me a kiss. Mi novio ________ ________ un beso.
My dad orders calamari for the group. Mi papá ________ ________ calamares al grupo.
We tell you guys the good news. Nosotros ________ ________ las buenas noticias a ________.
Who makes cookies for you (informal)? ¿Quién ________ ________ galletas?
I rent my house to my friends. Yo ________ ________ mi casa a ________.
Nobody tells me anything. Nadie ________ ________ nada.
They don’t serve my husband lobster. Ellos no ________ ________ langosta a ________.


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