Colocación de pronombres de complemento
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Spanish object pronouns (direct, indirect) and reflexive pronouns usually precede the verbs they modify. However, in the case of infinitives, gerunds, and affirmative commands, they often get attached to the end of the verb instead.
1) Object pronouns with infinitive
|Salió sin verlo.||He left without seeing it.|
|Limpié la casa para venderla.||I cleaned the house to sell it.|
If the infinitive is immediately preceded by a conjugated verb, the pronoun(s) can either precede the conjugated verb or be attached to the infinitive.
|Lo quiero vender.
|I want to sell it.|
|Me voy a lavar.
Voy a lavarme.
|I’m going to wash up.|
|Quiere vendérnoslo.||He wants to sell it to us.|
|Voy a dártelo.||I’m going to give it to you.|
2) Object pronouns with gerund
|Lo estoy mirando.
|I am watching it.|
|Las estábamos mirando.
|We were looking for them.|
In this case, even when just one pronoun is attached to the gerund, an accent must be added to the original stressed syllable in order to maintain the correct stress on the word.
3) Object pronouns with imperative
When it comes to the imperative, object pronoun placement is not flexible. With negative commands, the object pronouns must precede the verb, and for affirmative commands, they must be attached to the end of the verb.
|¡No me ayudes!||Don’t help me!|
|No se vaya (Ud).||Don’t go away.|
|No lo comas.||Don’t eat it.|
|No me la traiga.||Don’t bring it to me.|
|Tráigamela.||Bring it to me.|
Again, when object pronouns are attached the the imperative, an accent must be added to the verb to maintain the proper word stress.
Pronoun Position Quiz
Test yourself on the placement of Spanish pronouns with this fill-in-the-blanks exercise:
- Direct object pronouns
- Indirect object pronouns
- Reflexive pronouns
- Acute accent
- Word stress
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