Direct/indirect object pronouns
Lingvist graduate

Hey, I just came across a card where I really don’t understand at all why an indirect object pronoun is used instead of a direct one.

“Las maestras les piden a los alumnos que entreguen su tarea a tiempo.”

Why do you use “les” here? For me, the pupil are clearly the direct object here. Anyway, why do you need the pronoun at all?

Hi there!

Thanks for sharing your questions with the Lingvist community!

The linguistic phenomenon you have mentioned is called "double dative" and is a common one in Spanish:

  • Repetition of the indirect object pronoun is necessary unless a previous reference has been established: "Le daré los regalos a mi mejor amigo la semana que viene."
    "¡Dale el juguete a tu hermana!

  • Using the indirect object pronoun is mandatory for the 3rd person, unless the indirect object is a proper name: "Le entregué los deberes al profesor." --> "Entregué los deberes a la señora Rosa."

However, I understand the example may seem a bit confusing, so I will modify it and add a short grammar note to it.

¡Feliz aprendizaje! 😊

last edited by Javier
Lingvist graduate

Thanks for the answer. For the second part of my question, why you would use an indirect instead of a direct object, I found that I got a little confused with my German background, where you would, in fact, use an accusative object in this case.

Hello again!

Regarding your question, the prepositional phrase a los alumnos is the indirect object in this sentence because it corresponds to the 'beneficiary' or 'injured' by the action of the subject (las maestras). The direct object is the subordinate sentence que entreguen su tarea a tiempo.

We can see this clearly if we replace both objects by their corresponding pronouns: "Ellas les (IO) piden (a ellos) (IO, double dative) eso/ello (DO)" --> "Ellas se (IO) lo (DO) piden".

For further information on the proper use of direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish, please check the following link:

http://www.rae.es/consultas/uso-de-los-pronombres-los-las-les-leismo-laismo-loismo

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

last edited by Javier

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