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Using le and les = [to] it,him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)

Le and les are pronouns: they replace a noun (person, animal or thing) used as the indirect object in the sentence (object introduced by the preposition a). 

Have a look at these examples:

¿Ella envía un regalo a Miguel? Sí, ella le envía un regalo.
Is she sending a present to Miguel? Yes, she is sending him a present.

¿Quién prepara la fiesta a Sofía? Nosotros le preparamos la fiesta.
Who is preparing the party for Sofía? We are preparing the party for her.

¿Luna escribe a sus amigas? Sí, les escribe.
Does Luna write to her friends? Yes, she writes to them.

You also use le or les to replace the formal forms usted and ustedes:

Señora Valls, le doy su carta.
Mrs. Valls, I am giving you your letter.

Señor y Señora Aldama, hoy les pago la renta.
Mr. and Mrs. Aldama, today I'm paying you the rent.

 

Note that the indirect object pronoun agrees in number with the noun it is replacing:

  Masculine / Feminine
Singular le 
to it / him / her / you
Plural les 
to them / you

The indirect object pronoun is placed in front of the conjugated verb.


ATTENTION:

In Spanish, it's common to use both the indirect object pronoun and the indirect object noun it's replacing in the same sentence, for emphasis:

Ella le envió un regalo a Miguel.
She sent a present to Miguel.

Nosotros les preparamos la cena a nuestros invitados.
We are cooking dinner for our guests.

Señor Lopez le entrego el paquete.
Mr. Lopez I am delivering the package to you.

Hoy les pago la renta a ustedes.
Today I'm paying you the rent.

Here are some other examples where "le/les" refer to things:

Añadí sal a la comida. Le añadí sal.
I added salt to the food. I added salt to it.

Puse alcohol a las bebidas. Les puse alcohol.
I put some alcohol in the drinks. I put some alcohol in them.

See also Using lo, la, los, las = him, her, it, them (direct object pronouns)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Señora Valls, le doy su carta.
Mrs. Valls, I am giving you your letter.


¿Luna escribe a sus amigas? Sí, les escribe.
Does Luna write to her friends? Yes, she writes to them.


Yo le doy el periódico al portero ahora.
I am giving the newspaper to the doorman now.


Puse alcohol a las bebidas. Les puse alcohol.
I put some alcohol in the drinks. I put some alcohol in them.


Nosotros les preparamos la cena a nuestros invitados.
We are cooking dinner for our guests.


Señor y Señora Aldama, hoy les pago la renta.
Mr. and Mrs. Aldama, today I'm paying you the rent.


Añadí sal a la comida. Le añadí sal.
I added salt to the food. I added salt to it.


¿Quién prepara la fiesta a Sofía? Nosotros le preparamos la fiesta.
Who is preparing the party for Sofía? We are preparing the party for her.


¿Ella envía un regalo a Miguel? Sí, ella le envía un regalo.
Is she sending a present to Miguel? Yes, she is sending him a present.


Yo les doy las llaves a sus amigos.
I am giving the keys to his friends.


Señor Lopez le entrego el paquete.
Mr. Lopez I am delivering the package to you.


Micro kwiz: Using le and les = [to] it,him, her, them (indirect object pronouns)
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Q&A

Daniel

Kwiziq community member

13 March 2018

1 reply

Inanimate Objects#

Why does it say "You never use le and les to replace inanimate objects." When other sources say that spanish does not distinguish between inanimacy.

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

14 March 2018

14/03/18

Hello Daniel


We will remove this bit of information from the lesson because, although, more commonly used to refer to people or animals, "le/les" can also refer to inanimate objects, for example "Le añadí sal a la comida" (I added salt to the food), acting also as an indirect object. 


Thanks for reporting this and sorry about the confussion.


Inma

Daniel

Kwiziq community member

13 March 2018

0 replies

Inanimate Objects.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

23 February 2018

1 reply

When do I use le , les and when do I use la, lo. Having big problems with this.

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

24 February 2018

24/02/18

Hola Susan


Lo, la, los and las are direct object pronouns, i.e pronouns that replace a person/people or a thing/things and they receive the action from the verb directly. Generally you spot them by asking the verb the question What? or Who?


See the following examples:


"Roberto compró pan" --> "Roberto lo compró" (What did Roberto buy? -bread [direct obj]


"Roberto llamó a Claudia" -->"Roberto la llamó" (Who did Roberto call?) -Claudia [direct obj]


lo and la are replacing pan and Claudia and they are both direct object pronouns.


Le and les are indirect object pronouns, i.e pronouns that replace a person/people (not things) and they receive the action from the verb indirectly. Generally you spot them by asking the verb "to whom"? or "for whom"?


See the following examples:


"Roberto compró flores para Claudia" --> Roberto le compró flores (For whom did Roberto buy flowers? -for Claudia, for her. [indirect obj]


"Roberto dio dinero a sus hijos" --> "Roberto les dio dinero" (To whom did Roberto give money? -to his children, to them. [indirect obj]


I hope this clarified your doubts. 


Gracias y saludos


Inma

Jamie

Kwiziq community member

25 January 2018

2 replies

Juan ________ prepara el desayuno todos los días."

Jamie

Kwiziq community member

25 January 2018

25/01/18

When I answered this, I was going off the first green box that says le and les are not used for inanimate objects. But isn't this question asking for the word for "them"? Which are animate objects?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

25 January 2018

25/01/18

Hola Jamie
This question is asking for the word for "them", which, like you said, it refers to animate objects (people), therefore it needs "les". In the lesson it says that you cannot use le-les for inanimate objects.
I hope this clarified your doubt.
Inma

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