Direct Objects

Objetos directos

A direct object is a noun, whether person or thing, that someone or something acts upon. In the simplest sentences, the direct object directly follows the verb, so it’s very easy to see the effect that the verb has on the noun.

Tengo un libro.   I have a book.
Conoce a Maria.   He knows Maria.

The direct object is the person or thing that receives the action of the verb in a sentence. To find the direct object in a sentence, ask Who? or What?

Tengo un libro.   I have a book.
Lo tengo.   I have it.
What do I have? A book.
 
Conoce a Maria.   He knows Maria.
La conoce.   He knows her.
Who does he know? Maria.

Direct object pronouns

Direct object pronouns replace the direct objects, so that we don’t say things like "Maria was at the bank today. When I saw Maria I smiled." It’s much more natural to say "Maria was at the bank today. When I saw her I smiled."

1st person me    me   nos us
2nd person te you   os you
3rd person masc. lo him, you, it   los them, you
3rd person fem. la her, you, it   las them, you

Note: Lo is also a neuter object pronoun.

Direct object pronoun placement

The most difficult thing to remember about direct object pronouns is this: they usually go in front of the verb in Spanish.

Lo como.   I’m eating it.
La conoce.   He knows her.
Te quiero.   I love you.
Me quieres.   You love me.

With infinitives, present participles, and affirmative commands, pronouns can get attached to the end – learn more.

Lo voy a hacer.   I’m going to do it.
Voy a hacerlo.  
Los quiero comer.   I want to eat them.
Quiero comerlos.  

Note: When deciding between direct objects and indirect objects, the general rule is that if the person or thing is preceded by a preposition, that person/thing is an indirect object. If it is not preceded by a preposition, it is a direct object. However in Spanish, the preposition a must be used between every verb (except tener) and the person that follows, but this doesn’t necessarily turn that person into an indirect object.

Test: Direct object pronouns

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