L04: Indirect Object Pronouns

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L04: Indirect Object Pronouns

Post by Peter »


The indirect object pronouns are used with intransitive verbs, ie those verbs that do not or cannot take a direct object. It also forms part of a sentence in which both a direct and an indirect pronoun appears.

The indirect object pronouns are as follows:

(to) me mi
(to) you ti
(to) him, it gli
(to) her, it le

(to) us ci
(to) you vi
(to) them loro

In a number of books covering Italian grammar, gli is also given as an alternative to loro. However, in Italian schools this usage is considered to be a severe error and would be marked as such. Our recommendation is to use only loro.

Anna gave me a book for my birthday
Anna mi ha dato un libro per il mio compleanno

Anna telephones her every day
Anna le telefona ogni giorno

Charles gave you a pen and you lost it
Carlo ti ha dato una penna e tu l’hai persa

Michele explained to us that his son had to go into hospital
Michele ci ha spiegato che suo figlio doveva andare in ospedale

Note that the 3rd person plural is the same for both masculine and feminine, unlike the equivalent direct object pronouns. When using gli, you must place it before the verb; if you use loro, then that goes after the verb. Indeed loro is the only indirect object pronoun that must be placed after the verb.

Gli manderò un invito alla festa
Manderò loro un invito alla festa

Both mean: I will send them an invitation to the party

Gli abbiamo detto che non saremmo riusciti a farlo
Abbiamo detto loro che non saremmo riusciti a farlo

We told them we would not be able to do it.

Note the position of the direct object pronoun lo attached to the infinitive of the verb fare.

As with the direct object pronouns, indirect ones are also attached to the end of the infinitive, imperative, gerund and past participle of verbs.

Voglio parlargli
I want to speak to him

Devo mandarle una lettera
I must send her a letter

Scrivimi un rapporto
Write me a report

Spiegatagli la decisione sono uscito
Having explained the decision to them I left

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