Indirect Object Pronoun Verbs

Verbos afectivos

There are about a dozen Spanish verbs which must be conjugated with an indirect object pronoun. This grammatical construction does not exist in English, but it’s not difficult once you get used to it.

The following verbs require an indirect object pronoun (le represents the pronoun in the infinitive):

convenirle   to suit, be good for
encantarle   to love something
entusiasmarle   to be excited about something
faltarle   to be missing something, to not have
fascinarle   to fascinate, to be fascinated by
gustarle   to like
hacerle falta   to need something
importarle   to care about something, to mind
interesarle   to be interested in
quedarle   to have something left
sobrarle   to have more than enough of something
tocarle   to be one’s turn

OK, so here’s how it works. The indirect object precedes the verb. The verb can only be conjugated in the third person singular or plural, depending on the grammatical number of the subject which follows.

For example: "I care about school." School is singular, so the verb, importar, will be in the third person singular, and we end up with Me importa la escuela (literally "School is important to me").

In the sentence "I like books," the subject is plural, so the verb will be conjugated in the third person plural: Me gustan los libros (literally "Books are liking to me").

This construction can also be used with an infinitive as the subject: "We like to read" – Nos gusta leer.

The following table shows conjugations for indirect object pronoun verbs.

GUSTAR – to like
me gusta el libro.    me gustan los libros.
te gusta el libro. te gustan los libros.
le gusta el libro. le gustan los libros.
nos  gusta el libro.   nos gustan los libros.
os gusta el libro.   os gustan los libros.
les gusta el libro.   les gustan los libros.

Note: Le can refer to him, her, it, or you (Ud.) and les can refer to them or you (Uds.), so to clarify, you can add a + person at the beginning of the sentence. (Remember that the preposition a must be used whenever a verb is followed by a person – learn more):

A él le gusta el arte.   He likes art.
A Ana le quedan 100 pesos.   Ana has 100 pesos left.
A ellos les entusiasma viajar.   They are excited about traveling.

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