Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish

Learn singular and plural Spanish indirect object pronouns.

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Focusing on your accent and regional slang are two great ways to sound more like a native Spanish speaker, but we’d like to suggest an additional way: indirect object pronouns.

We know, we know - focusing on grammar isn’t nearly as fun as using some of those fresh sayings you hear out and about.

But stick with us, and you’ll quickly see how using Spanish indirect object pronouns makes your sentences more concise and natural.

In this article, you’ll discover singular and plural indirect object pronouns in Spanish and practice how to use them correctly so that you sound just like a native speaker.

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Master using Spanish indirect object pronouns today!

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Learn more Spanish indirect object pronouns like “te” (you), indicating to whom the action of "pierdas" (miss) is directed, via Busuu’s free online courses today!

What are indirect object pronouns in Spanish?

First things first: What is a pronoun? Essentially, pronouns are words that replace nouns or noun phrases to help you avoid unnecessary repetition during a conversation.


Tank es mi perro. Él y yo caminamos juntos. (Tank is my dog. He and I hike together.)

In the above example, the personal pronoun él (he) replaces Tank to avoid saying Tank twice.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of pronouns in Spanish. However, for this article, we’ll just focus on indirect object pronouns.

Indirect object pronouns function much like other pronouns, but they are specifically used when the chosen verb can indirectly affect something by its action. In other words, indirect object pronouns are words used to replace the object that is indirectly affected by the verb. They replace to whom or for whom an action is done to make a sentence more concise.

Let’s have a look at a list of Spanish’s indirect object pronouns:

Indirect Object Pronouns in Spanish


me to/for me
te to/for you (informal)
le to/for it, him, her, you (formal)
se to/for it, him, her, you


nos to/for us
os to/for you (informal)
les to/for them, you (formal-Spain/informal Latin America)
se to/for them, you

As you can see in the table, there are different pronouns for the singular and plural nouns and the formal and informal “you.”

Special mention: Se

Se is a unique pronoun in Spanish that can function with, and as, many different types of pronouns depending on the context of the sentence.

Se commonly appears alongside indirect object pronouns in sentences where the indirect object is not clearly specified. This is known as the se + indirect object pronoun and it is often used in a more general or impersonal context.

In some contexts, _se can be used to substitute le_ and les when they are directly followed by a direct object pronoun lo, la, los, or las. This is to avoid redundancy or to clarify the context.

Using se will take this sentence:

María le dio el libro a Juan. (María gave the book to Juan.)

And change it to:

María se lo dio. (María gave it to him/her/you.)

Se is quite versatile and is also found used in many idiomatic expressions and passive sentences. Here’s an example of se being used in a sentence with a passive construction:

Se me olvidó el libro. (I forgot the book. / The book was forgotten by me.)

The use of se in this sentence emphasizes the action of forgetting rather than the subject (I) performing the action, making it more passive.

When it comes to se, it is important to note that its meaning can vary depending on the sentence structure and the verb it goes with.

Now, let’s take a look at the correct placement of an indirect object pronoun in Spanish.

Want to brush up on your Spanish pronouns?

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Placement of Spanish indirect object pronouns

Knowing the right placement of the indirect object pronouns is just as important as using the correct pronoun. But don’t worry — we’re about to get into the nitty-gritty of proper placement so you can master it in no time.

The placement options for indirect object pronouns will depend on the verb tense, mood, and structure of the sentence.

Simple verbs + indirect object pronouns

With a simple verb (a verb with one part such as yo hablo) the indirect object pronoun goes before the verb.


Mi maestra me dio tarea. (My teacher gave me homework.)

If the sentence is negative (a sentence where something didn’t happen or is false), we place the indirect object pronoun directly before the verb and after the negative adverb (nunca, no).


Mi maestra no me dio tarea. (My teacher didn’t give me homework.)

Mi maestra nunca me dio tarea. (My teacher never gave me homework.)

Compound verbs + indirect object pronouns

If the sentence uses a compound verb (a verb with two parts such as yo estoy hablando), there are two places the indirect object pronoun can go: before the conjugated verb or attached to an infinitive or gerund.

Too much grammar jargon in one sentence?

No worries, let’s define some of those terms:

  • Infinitive: Think of Spanish verbs in their “true” or original form. These are verbs ending in -ar, -ir, or -er.

  • Gerund: Think of verbs describing something that is happening in the present but will continue in the future. These verbs usually end in -ando, -endo and -iendo.

Okay, now back to placing our indirect object pronouns.

When using an indirect object pronoun in a sentence with compound verbs, we place the pronoun either before the conjugated verb or attached to the infinitive or gerund.

Before a conjugated verb:

Mi maestra me va a dar tarea. (My teacher is going to give me homework.)

Before a conjugated verb in a negative sentence:

Mi maestra nunca me va a dar tarea. (My teacher is never going to give me homework.)

Attached to an infinitive:

Mi maestra va a darme tarea. (My teacher is going to give me homework.)

Attached to an infinitive in a negative sentence:

Mi maestra no va a darme tarea. (My teacher isn’t going to give me homework.)

Attached to a gerund:

Mi maestra está dándome tarea. (My teacher is giving me homework.)

Attached to a gerund in a negative sentence:

Mi maestra no está dándome tarea. (My teacher isn’t giving me homework.)

Getting the hang of it? Great! In the above examples we used the verb dar or “to give,” but there are many verbs that use indirect object pronouns.

Verbs commonly used with indirect object pronouns in Spanish

pedir to ask for
comprar to buy
enviar to send
mostrar to show
escribir to write
contar to tell
traer to bring
decir to say
servir to serve

At first sight, using Spanish indirect object pronouns can seem a bit intimidating. But now you’ve nailed the basics so you can get started using them in your conversations in Spanish.

Using indirect object pronouns in Spanish will help you speak concisely and sound more like a native speaker.

Great work!

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