Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Premium 3rd Edition (2016)

Part I. PRONOUNS

Chapter 12. Double-object pronoun order: RID

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The following chart is a review of the reflexive, indirect, and direct object pronouns.

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RID order

When you have two object pronouns in a Spanish sentence, these pronouns always appear in RID order: reflexive, indirect, direct. Because the maximum number of pronouns that can appear together is two, the possible combinations are reflexive + indirect (which is rare), reflexive + direct, and indirect + direct. Some examples of the more common combinations are shown below.

Reflexive + Direct

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Indirect + Direct

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Traducción Unless marked [f.], it and them are masculine. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1He gives it to me. _________________________________

  2She tells it to you. _________________________________

  3We give it to you. _________________________________

  4I write it [f.] to you. _________________________________

  5He sends them to us. _________________________________

  6We sing it [f.] to you. _________________________________

  7Why do you give it to me? _________________________________

  8Who has it for you? _________________________________

  9When do you do it for me? _________________________________

10Why do you tell it to us? _________________________________

11I prepare it [f.] for myself. _________________________________

12She buys them [f.] for herself. _________________________________


The “la la” rule

The third-person forms of both the direct and indirect object pronouns, regardless of number or gender, begin with the letter l. When they appear together, change the indirect object pronoun le (the first pronoun) to se. This avoids the singsong, tongue-tripping sound of two small words together starting with the letter l. We call this the “la la rule.”

Consider the sentence “I give it [m.] to him.” The indirect object is “him” (le) and the direct object is “it” (lo). Thus in Spanish we would initially have Yo le lo doy. Because of the “la la” rule, however, we change the indirect object pronoun le to se, and the resulting sentence is Yo se lo doy.

This change in spelling to accommodate ease of pronunciation could make such a sentence incomprehensible. However, we use pronouns only when their antecedents are understood from the context of the paragraph or conversation. Therefore, while looking at se lo doy without any prior knowledge might make the sentence virtually meaningless, knowledge of the referents makes the sentence completely understandable.

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Traducción Unless marked [f.], it and them are masculine. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you unless indicated otherwise.

  1He sings it [f.] to her. _________________________________

  2We tell it to them. _________________________________

  3You buy them for him. _________________________________

  4I write it for you [pl., formal]. _________________________________

  5He sends them to them. _________________________________

  6I tell it to her. _________________________________

  7He sells it [f.] to her. _________________________________

  8You give them [f.] to him. _________________________________

  9No one tells it to her. _________________________________

10Why do you tell it to him?

11We bring them [f.] to them [f.]. _________________________________

12She cooks it for them. _________________________________

13I make them [f.] for you [pl., formal]. _________________________________

14Do you make them for them? _________________________________

15Who gives it to them? _________________________________


Two pronouns in a negative statement

In a negative sentence or clause in which the RID rules apply, place the word “no” (or other word of negation) immediately before the first pronoun. In the examples below, note the effect of the “la la” rule, and watch for sentences like these in the exercises that follow.

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Traducción Unless marked [f.], it and them are masculine. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you unless indicated otherwise.

  1She doesn’t tell it to me. _________________________________

  2I don’t tell it to him. _________________________________

  3We don’t buy them [f.] for ourselves. _________________________________

  4They don’t send it [f.] to us on time (a tiempo). _________________________________

  5She doesn’t make it for us every day. _________________________________

  6I don’t give it [f.] to them. _________________________________

  7He doesn’t pay me for it in cash (en efectivo). _________________________________

  8He doesn’t give it to me on time. _________________________________

  9Why don’t you send it [f.] to her tomorrow? _________________________________

10Don’t you buy them [f.] for them every day? _________________________________

11I never buy them for myself. _________________________________

12We never tell them to her. _________________________________


Two pronouns in sentences with two verbs

In a statement or clause that contains two verbs, the first verb is conjugated and the second one remains in the infinitive form. The placement of the two object pronouns follows the same pattern that has been seen with individual pronouns. The object pronouns—kept together—may either be placed before the conjugated verb or attached directly to the infinitive. In addition, they always appear in RID order: reflexive, indirect, direct.

In these examples, the two pronouns are placed before the conjugated verb.

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Note that the “la la” rule comes into play in third-person situations.

When the two object pronouns are attached directly to the infinitive, a written accent must be added in order for the infinitive to retain its natural stress, which always falls on the final syllable. Therefore, a written accent is placed over the vowel in the stressed syllable of the infinitive.

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Traducción Express each of the following statements in two complete sentences showing the two options for placement of the object pronouns. Unless marked [f.], it and them are masculine. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you unless indicated otherwise.

  1I want to tell it to you.

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  2I want to buy it [f.] for you.

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  3You have to give it to me.

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  4We have to sell them to you.

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  5We have to sell it to her.

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  6They should buy them [f.] for you.

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  7They should buy it for themselves.

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  8She needs to send it [f.] to me.

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  9You [pl., formal] have to give it [f.] to us.

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10I should bring it to them.

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11They should give them [f.] to me.

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12She wants to sing it [f.] for us.

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13You can send it to me by mail (por correo).

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14He can pay you for it [f.] in cash.

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15I want to pay you [pl., informal] for them by check (con un cheque).

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Questions and negative statements with two verbs

In a negative sentence with two verbs, place the word “no” (or other word of negation) before the conjugated verb. If you also place the pronouns before the conjugated verb, the word “no” precedes the pronouns. If you attach the pronouns to the infinitive, the word “no” immediately precedes the conjugated verb.

For questions, add question marks but maintain the order of the sentence elements (subject and verb).

To add the subject (either a noun or pronoun) to a negative statement or a question, place it at the very beginning of the sentence. It should always be placed before the conjugated verb; it should appear before the “no” if the statement or question is negative.

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Traducción Express each of the following statements in two complete sentences showing the two options for placement of the object pronouns. Unless marked [f.], it and them are masculine. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you unless indicated otherwise.

  1Can you do it for me?

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  2No, I can’t do it for you.

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  3Do we have to tell it [f.] to him?

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  4When do you want to give them [f.] to them?

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  5You don’t need to pay me for it now.

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  6They can’t sell it to you in the United States.

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  7We can’t sell it [f.] to them at this price.

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  8When do you want to tell it to me?

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  9Aren’t you going to bring it to us today?

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10Can’t they send them [f.] to us by mail (por correo)?

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Traducción

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Every year I receive lots of presents for my birthday. I have lots of friends who have stores, and they always give me what they sell or what they make. And for their birthdays, I always give them presents too. My friend Merlin sells flowers, and he gives them to me. Manolo sells shoes, and he gives them to me. Juan sells coffee, and he gives it to me. Vidal sells shampoo, and he gives it to me. Paloma makes perfume, and she sends it to me, because she lives in Spain. Donna makes dresses, and she sends them to me. Elsa makes jewelry, and she always makes me something special for my birthday. This year I want a private jet. Who is going to give it to me?

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