Odds and Ends: Double-Object Pronouns
Are you an antique buff? Do you collect ceramics? What about whimsical little toys? Whatever your interests, you're sure to find fascinating odds and ends wherever you go.
las antigüedades (antiques)
la cerámica (ceramics)
los juguetes (toys)
el cuadro (painting)
la muñeca (doll)
la olla (pot)
la escultura (sculpture)
el tapiz (tapestry)
la canasta (basket)
la calabaza (gourd)
el abanico (fan)
el bastón (walking stick)
There you are, wandering the market, and you spot some terrific baskets and a great tapestry that you would love to put in your living room. So, you ask the vendor if he will please show them to you. Look at some examples:
Esas canastas son interesantes. ¿Me las deja ver, por favor?
(Those baskets are interesting. Will you let me see them, please?)
Nos gusta mucho ese tapiz. ¿Nos lo baja, por favor?
(We like that tapestry a lot. Will you take it down for us, please?)
Both of these examples use direct and indirect object pronouns together.
In the first sentence, las refers to the direct object “the baskets” and me is the indirect object pronoun “me.” In the second example you ask the vendor to take “it” down for you. Lo is the direct object pronoun for “the tapestry” and “nos” is the indirect object pronoun meaning “for us.” Now, let's look at a couple of examples with a reflexive verb and an object pronoun. To tell your friend to try on a pair of shoes she saw in a shop, you might say: Pruébatelos (Try them on). To ask a salesperson if you can try on a skirt, ask:¿Me la puedo probar? or ¿Puedo probármela?
Placement of Double Pronouns
Whether you have one or two object pronouns, the rules of placement are the same: put them in front of a conjugated verb or negative command or attach them to an infinitive, present participle, or affirmative command. Always put the indirect object or reflexive pronoun in front of the direct object pronoun. Luckily, you won't ever have all three in the same phrase, though you may have three in the same sentence, for example: Nos encantaría comprárnoslos (We would love to buy them for ourselves). The first nos relates only to the verb encantaría so it stands alone. “Them for ourselves,” however both relate to the verb comprar and follow the pronoun sequence of indirect-direct.
To remember the order of pronoun placement, remind yourself that pronouns get RID of the nouns. RID is a handy acronym for reflexive, indirect, direct.
When the use of pronouns results in combinations like le lo, le la, les lo, les las, change the indirect object pronoun from le or les to se. For example, “John likes the red shirt so I'm going to buy it for him” becomes A John le gusta la camisa roja por eso se la voy a comprar rather than … le la voy a comprar.