Italian Direct Object Pronouns

Weilà raga! This post correlates with my video "Learn Italian - Direct Object Pronouns" which you can watch on YouTube.

Direct Object Pronouns are just like regular pronouns in that they take the place of the names of people or things. However, what makes them different is that they directly receive the action of the verb in question.

For example, I can ask you: "Do you know Tom?"

And if you do, you can respond with: "Yes, I know HIM."

That HIM is a pronoun, but more specifically a Direct Object Pronoun. It takes the place of Tom and directly receives the action of the verb "to know."

You can also think of Direct Object Pronouns are answering the questions "what?" and "whom?"


Here are all of the Italian Direct Object Pronouns:

  • mi  =  me
  • ti    =  you
  • lo   =  him/it
  • la   =  her/it
  • ci   =  us
  • vi   =  you guys/all
  • li    =  them (masc.)
  • le   =  them (fem.)

Now let's see how they're used! We're going to start with MI:

Mi vedi? = Can you see me?

In Italian, the Direct Object Pronoun always (usually) goes BEFORE the verb. Whereas in English, the Direct Object Pronoun goes AFTER the verb. 

Literally, MI VEDI means IT IS ME THAT YOU SEE. 

You could respond to this question by saying: Sì, ti vedo = Yes, I see you.


Starting to make sense? It's just that typical "backwards way of thinking" as I tend to call it. We saw this with when we learned how to say "I like" in Italian also.


Now let's move on to LO & LA:

Me: Conosci Matteo? = Do you know Matthew?

You: No, non lo conosco = No, I don't know him


Now LA is used in the same way. Only difference is that we use it to talk about a girl or a feminine thing.

Take a look at this example: 

La voglio vedere/voglio vederla

These both mean "I want to see her/it." Just depends on whether we're referring to a girl or a feminine thing.

Whenever you've got 2 verbs in a sentence you can actually tack the Direct Object Pronoun onto the end of the second verb that's in its infinitive form (ends in -are, -ere, or -ire). We'll call this an exception to the rule - because usually the Direct Object Pronoun always goes before the verb.


I now want to move on to LI & LE because they're the plural counterparts to Lo & La. 

As Lo is for masculine, singular things, Li is for masculine, plural things.

As La is for feminine, singular things, Le is for feminine, plural things.


Let's now take a look at some examples:

Me: Vuoi leggere i libri? = Do you want to read the books?

You: Sì, li voglio leggere/voglio leggerli. = Yes, I want to read them.

Me: Vuoi vedere le foto? = Do you want to see the photos?

You: Sì, le voglio vedere/voglio vederle. = Yes, I want to see them.


Now let's move on to Ci & Vi (now in the video I made a mistake and actually used these as indirect object pronouns so I'll be showing different examples than in the video, but correct ones nontheless):

Ci vedono = They see us

Vi vedono = They see you guys


Once you get the hang of this, you'll find it to be really straight forward.

What I do want to do, however, is show you what happens when you use Direct Object Pronouns with Avere (to have) in the Passato Prossimo:

For every Direct a Object Pronoun except Mi & Ti, you need to be mindful of gender and singular/plural.

And Lo & La attach to the verb Avere.


So here's what I mean:

Me: Hai visto Matteo? = Have you seen Matteo?

You: No, non l'ho visto = No, I haven't seen him.

Because LO + HO = L'HO

Me: Hai visto Giada? = Have you seen Giada?

You: Sì, l'ho vista = Yes, I've seen her.

In this situation, because we're referring to a girl so the gender of our verb also has to agree.

But remember - this is ONLY the case with Direct Object Pronouns. We don't do this is any other situation.

Now Li & Le are the same thing except they don't attach to Avere:

Li ho visti = I've seen them (masculine, plural things)

Le ho viste = I've seen them (feminine, plural things)

And of course these can be used for when referring to groups of people too. Remember, both people and things have genders in Italian.


And there you have it guys! That is everything that you need to know about Italian Direct Object Pronouns!

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