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Ask a teacher, lesson 24 - How do I use the pronoun se as an indirect object?
Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is…
How do I use the pronoun se as an indirect object?
Se creates a lot of confusion for students because there are several uses and functions for se in Spanish. In this lesson, we’ll see se used as a 3rd person pronoun functioning as an indirect object.
This means that we’ll use se when it means a él or a ella, "for him” or “for her" and a ellos or a ellas, both meaning "for them."
First let’s remember that in Spanish you can say a él or a ella using the particle le and a ellos or a ellas, using the particle les. Instead of a you can also use para. Le and les are indirect objects, and to recognize them we have to see to whom the action of the verb goes.
Like, for example, in this sentence – Marta compró un regalo para su novio meaning “Marta bought a present for her boyfriend.”
We can also say Marta le compró un regalo, meaning “Marta bought him a present.”
The personal pronoun se as an indirect object is used instead of le, or les, when se comes before one of the pronouns lo, la, los or las when they’re acting as direct objects.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use se as an indirect object correctly.
From the sentence Le di las llaves, meaning "I gave him the keys," you can say, Se las di, meaning "I gave them to him." Here se replaces the indirect object le and la replaces the direct object, “the keys.”
From Les compré un libro, “I bought them a book," we get, Se lo compré, “I bought it for them." Here, se replaces the indirect object les before the direct object lo.
Let’s do one more example--
Abrí la puerta a la profesora. “I opened the door for the teacher.”
La puerta “the door” is the direct object as it’s the thing that we open, and a la profesora, literally meaning “for the teacher”, is the indirect object because it’s the person to whom the action goes. So using the pronouns, it would become--
Se la abrí. meaning “I opened it for her.” Se is “for her” and la is the “door.”
This way we can refer to the things or people we’ve already talked about without having to repeat them.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!
¡Hasta luego! “See you later!”