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Grammar - The Direct Object Pronouns

This Spanish Medium Review quiz will give you the opportunity to revisit the direct object pronouns and how they work in Spanish. What is a direct object pronoun? A direct object pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun that is directly affected by the action of a verb.

Direct object pronouns include the pronoun words of me, him, her, you, us, it and them. For example, take the sentence: He gave the shoes to me. Now, which word in that sentence is doing the action. That would be 'he' as 'he gave'. The word shoes is the subject of the sentence. Finally, 'me' is the direct object pronoun being acted upon.

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If you remember from the Spanish Medium Review quiz titled The Indirect Object Pronouns, one way to determine whether a pronoun is being acted upon is to use the words 'to' or 'for' before it. Here, in this given sentence, the word 'to' comes before 'me' and that quickly tells you that 'me' is being acted upon.

WORD ORDER

Now let’s look at the Spanish word order for a direct object pronoun. As you can see from the sentence above, in English the direct object pronoun (me) is generally used after a verb just as the subject of shoes is. In Spanish, however, the direct object pronoun is generally used before the verb rather than after the verb. Therefore, in Spanish the above sentences would be said and written as: Él me dio los zapatos. (He to me gave the shoes.) It could also be translated as, He gave the shoes to me. You could say this as: Él dio los zapatos a me. However, that is an improper way of saying it as that is how it is said in Spanish. However, you would still be understood by native speakers. They would just know that you were not a native speaker.

Okay, let’s take another look at the direct object pronouns as follows.

DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS

Singular

ENGLISH SPANISH MEANING
me me me / to me / for me
you te you / to you / for you (singular familiar), relates to tú
it lo it (masculine) / you – relates to usted (masculine) (formal)
him le him (note that in some Spanish countries they will also use 'lo' for 'him')
her la her / it (feminine) / you – relates to usted (feminine) (formal)

Plural

ENGLISH SPANISH MEANING
us nos us / to us / for us
you los you – relates to ustedes when there are all males in the group
you las you – relates to ustedes when there are all females in the group
you os you - relates to vosotros / vosotras (familiar)
them los them – related to ellos when there are males and females
them les them – related to ellos when there are only males
you las them – related to ellas

With this information fresh in your mind, it is time to take the quiz. It contains ten sentences and in each sentence is an all capitalized word. From the Spanish answers given, locate the correct answer that will properly translate the given sentence using the proper direct object pronoun of the capitalized word.

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  1. Robert loves MARY.
    The Spanish name for Robert is Roberto. This has been translated correctly in each answer. The direct object pronoun that replaces the direct object Mary is la. The first answer shows the direct object pronoun for them (feminine) and the second answer shows the direct object pronoun for it. These two answers can now be eliminated. The third answer translates as: Her loves Robert. This is not a correct translation. The last answer translates as: Robert loves her.
  2. Daddy eats CHICKEN.
    The Spanish word for daddy is papá. This has been translated correctly in each answer. The direct object pronoun that replaces the direct object chicken is lo. The first answer shows the direct object pronoun for it but it is in the feminine form. The Spanish word for chicken is pollo and it is a masculine word. Therefore, the first answer is not correct. The second answer has used the direct object pronoun los which means them. There is only one chicken so this translation is not correct. The last answer reads as: Daddy eats it. That would be correct in English but not in Spanish. The third answer reads: Daddy it eats. This is the correct order of words in the sentence that means: Daddy eats it.
  3. David climbs TREES.
    The Spanish name for David is Davíd. This has been translated correctly in each answer. The direct object pronoun that replaces the direct object trees is los. The third answer shows the direct object pronoun for them (feminine). The Spanish word for trees is árboles. It is a masculine word so the feminine form is not correct. The masculine form of los is needed instead. The second answer shows the direct object pronoun after the verb. This is not the correct word order in Spanish. The last answer also shows the incorrect order as Davíd is the subject and should remain at the beginning of the sentence. The first answer translates as: David climbs them. It can also be translated as: David them climbs.
  4. My aunt believes ME, STEVEN, ALAN AND CINDY.
    The Spanish possessive pronoun for my is mi. This has been translated correctly in each answer. The Spanish word for aunt is tía. This means that the third and last answers can be eliminated because tío means uncle. The direct object in the sentence is plural as it lists several people. Since me is part of the direct object the direct object pronoun would be us’ In Spanish the direct object pronoun for us is nos. This now means that the first answer can also be eliminated. The second answer translates as: My aunt believes us. It can also be translated as: My aunt us believes.
  5. Matilda takes MICHAEL.
    The Spanish name for Matilda is Matilde. This has been translated correctly in each answer. The Spanish verb for takes is toma. This means that the second answer can be eliminated. The first answer shows the direct object pronoun for her. Michael (the direct object) is not a her so the first answer is not correct. The last answer shows the direct object pronoun for them (all males). Again, Michael is not a them. Rather, Michael is a him. The third answer translates as: Matilda takes him. It can also be translated as: Matilda him takes. The third answer shows the correct sentence order and the correct direct object pronoun for him. (Note that in some countries lo would be used in place of le.)
  6. Grandmother buys MILK.
    The Spanish word for grandmother is abuela. This means that the second and third answers can be eliminated as abuelo means grandfather. The first answer translates as: It grandmother buys. Generally the direct object pronoun comes directly before the verb so this order is not correct. The last answer translates as: Grandmother buys it. It can also be translated as: Grandmother it buys.
  7. The teacher shows THOMAS.
    The subject of this sentence is the teacher. As you do not know if the teacher is male or female then you must use the masculine form of the word. The first and second answers show a female teacher so they can be eliminated. The last answer translates as: The teacher shows. This translation does not contain a direct object pronoun. Therefore, the last answer is not correct. The third answer translates as: The teacher shows you. It can also be translated as: The teacher you shows.
  8. She kisses PETER, PAUL AND JOHN.
    The second answer translates as: She kisses them (all girls). That does not show the correct direct object pronoun for Peter, Paul and John. The third answer translates as: He kisses it. Again, this does not show the correct translation or the correct direct object pronoun as Peter, Paul and John are not it. The last answer translates as: They (all girls) kiss us. This is completely not the correct translation we are looking for here as the given pronoun is she and not they, nor does it contain the correct direct object pronoun. The first answer translates as: She kisses them (all boys). This is the translation and direct object pronoun that is needed.
  9. John cuts HAIR.
    The Spanish name for John is Juan and each answer has correctly translated this. The verb for cuts is corta. Again, each answer has correctly translated this as well. The first answer translates as: John cuts her. That is not the correct direct object pronoun needed here. The last answer translates as: John cuts. It is missing the direct object pronoun so it, too, is not correct. The third answer has put John at the end of the sentence. Being the subject, John should remain at the beginning of the sentence. The second answer translates as: John cuts it. It can also be translated as: John it cuts.
  10. She calls DADDY, MOMMY, GRANDMOTHER AND GRANDFATHER.
    The first answer translates as: She calls them (all girls). The direct object is daddy, mommy, grandmother and grandfather and they are a mixture of males and females so las is not the proper direct object pronoun here. The second answer translates as: She calls him. Again, le is not the correct direct object pronoun for daddy, mommy, grandmother and grandfather. The third answer translates as: She calls us. This too is not the proper direct object pronoun needed here. The last answer translates as: She calls you. The direct object pronoun of os is used for the plural familiar 'you'.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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