Direct objects are nouns or pronouns indicating towards what or whom the action of the verb is directed. These directly receive the action of the verb, without a preposition between the verb and the noun or pronoun. It often answers the question whom? (¿quién?) or what?(¿qué?) asked after the verb. In most instances, your direct object will directly follow your verb in a sentence or question.

Juan escribe una carta.

John writes what? --a letter (una carta).

Una carta is the direct object.


Ellos compran unos boletos de avión.

What do they buy? ---airline tickets (unos boletos de avión).

Unos boletos de avión is the direct object.


Nosotros limpiamos el baño.

What do we clean? – the bathroom (el baño).

El baño is the direct object.


In Spanish, a direct object noun referring to a person is preceeded by the preposition "a". This is called the "personal a". It does not have an English translation.

Juan ve a Javier.


personal a + direct object noun (person)

Juan sees Javier.


Nosotros vemos a los niños.


personal a + direct object noun (persons)

We see the kids.


DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS take the place of the direct objects themselves. This is done in English all of the time. A speaker will usually refer to an object or group of objects once, in full, and then later refer back to that particular object or group of objects using a direct object pronoun. This prevents the speaker from being repetitive and using the object in full over and over and over again:

Ex: Have you seen Lori? --Yeah, I saw her.

Did you see that movie over the weekend? –Yeah, we saw it.

Did you try those new Frappuccinos at Starbucks? –No, we haven’t tried them yet.


Your direct object pronouns are:

Subject Pronoun Definition Subject Pronoun Definition


me me nosotros nos us

te you vosotros os you all

Él, ella usted

lo, la him, her, it, you ellos, ellas, ustedes los, las them, you all (masc, fem or mixed group)

Keep in mind that while English has the direct object pronouns coming after the verb, in Spanish you must place your pronouns BEFORE a conjugated verb !!


Ex: ¿Has visto a Lori? –Sí, la vi.

¿Vieron esa película durante el fin de semana? –Sí, la vimos.

¿Probaron ustedes esos Frappuccinos nuevos de Starbucks? –No, no los probamos ya.


In the cases where you have a conjugated verb + infinitive construction, you have two choices: you can place the direct object pronoun before the conjugated verb form; OR, you can directly attach the pronoun to the END OF THE INFINITIVE:

¿Vas a poner la mesa? –Sí, la voy a poner. OR Sí, voy a ponerla.

¿Quieres preparar los camarones esta tarde? –No, no los quiero preparar. OR No, no quiero prepararlos.

¿Deseas comprar un periódico? –Sí, lo deseo comprar. OR Sí, deseo comprarlo.


You, as the speaker, have the option to place your pronouns before the conjugated verb form, or attach them to the end of your infinitives. Both options say the same thing, and both are correct. Please remember, however, that if all that you have is one conjugated verb form, you have NO CHOICE but to place the direct object pronoun BEFORE THE CONJUGATED VERB.


An exception to the above rule is with commands. Affirmative commands will always have the direct object pronoun attached directly to the end of the command.

Compra el vestido à Cómpralo.

Sirve la paella. à Sírvela.

Escribe las composiciones. à Escríbelas.


Since you are adding extra syllables to the word when you attach pronouns, a written accent must be placed over the stressed syllable when you are writing out your command. Commands and pronouns will be discussed a little further into the semester.