Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

Weilà weilà raga! How's it going everyone?! This blog post contains the notes of what I went over in my video "Learn Italian - Indirect Object Pronouns."

Indirect Object Pronouns are very similar to Direct Object Pronouns. The difference lies in 2 main areas - the third person pronouns (lui/lei) and in how Direct Object Pronouns answer the questions "whom?" and/pr "what?" while Indirect Object Pronouns answer the questions "to whom?" and/or "for whom?"

The best way to understand the differences is by seeing lots of examples. But first let me introduce you guys to the Indirect Object Pronouns:

Mi - a me (to me)

Ti - a te (to you)

Gli - a lui (to him)

Le - a lei (to her)

Ci - a noi (to us)

Vi - a voi (to you guys/you all)

Gli - a loro (to them)

 

Look familiar? Well, if you remember my video "How To Say 'I Like' in Italian," these will look very familiar.

Let's do a little review then, shall we? With "Piacere," which is the verb used to say "To like," we have to think in a reversed way. We have to think that "Something is pleasing TO ME" or that "TO ME something is pleasing" in order to say "I like something." It's just the way it works in Italian.

So this is the same mindset, which I have referred to in the past as a "backwards way of thinking," that we need to have in order to best understand how to use Italian Indirect Object Pronouns.

Let's now take a look at how Indirect Object Pronouns are different from Direct Object Pronouns and then we'll just get into loads of examples:

 

Direct:

Conosci Tom? (Do you know Tom?)

Sì, LO conosco (Yes, I know HIM) or (Yes, IT IS HIM that I know) Remember, backwards/reversed way of thinking.

 

Indirect:

Puoi scrivere qualcosa a Tom? (Can you write something to Tom?)

Sì, GLI scrivo qualcosa (Yes, I'll write something TO HIM) or (Yes, TO HIM I'll write something)

 

Let's break these down:

In the Direct example, we answered the question "WHO is it that you know?"

In the Indirect example, we answered the question "TO WHOM will you write something?"

See the difference? That TO WHOM makes all the difference.

 

For the Indirect example, you could just do this:

Puoi scrivere qualcosa a Tom?

Sì, scrivo qualcosa a Tom

 

But do you see how it's repetitive? It sounds weird when you say it. That's why these pronouns are so useful.

 

Now let the examples role! After a while you'll get the hang of this, trust me. You'll also see that Indirect Object Pronouns and Reflexive verbs work in the same way, as well as how some verbs can use both Indirect or Direct Object Pronouns, just depending on the context.

 

Mi puoi portare qualcosa da bere? (Can you bring me something to drink?)

Sì, ti porto qualcosa subito! (Yes, I'll bring you something right away!)

This answers the question, TO WHOM will you bring something? TO YOU.

 

Ci dai più tempo, per favore? (Can you give us more time, please?

This answers the question, TO WHOM can you give more time? TO US.

 

Vi chiediamo scusa. (We ask for your forgiveness)

This answers the question, TO WHOM are you asking forgiveness? TO YOU GUYS.

 

Lui vuole parlare con mia mamma? (He wants to talk to my mom?)

No, non le vuole parlare (No, he doesn't want to talk to her)

This answers the question, WHO IS IT that he wants to talk to? TO HER


You could also say "TO WHOM does he want to talk?" - this is just the formal way of putting this. Sorry if it confuses anyone! I know, it can sound strange. But it is grammatically correct.

 

If you ever find it too difficult to use an Indirect Object Pronoun, like in our last example, there are two other ways of wording that response:

"No, lui non le vuole parlare" - that way you reinforce that it is HE that doesn't want to talk TO HER

"No, lui non vuole parlare con lei" - this is without using an indirect object pronoun

 

If you're wondering whether you can attach Indirect Object Pronouns onto the end of a verb in its infinitive form, you can! 

 

So we can actually write out last example like this: "No, lui non vuole parlarle"

 

Rest assured that to get things like this you just needs lots of practice. Maybe some of you got it right away. But just try to come up with some sentences on your own and see how you do. There are also lots of examples available online. I'll leave some links for some sites with examples down below.

 

So this has been my lesson on Italian Indirect Object Pronouns! Now that we know how to use both Indirect and Direct Object Pronouns, we can move on to Double Pronouns, which are my favorite. When you use them you sound like such a boss. Double Pronouns are essentially when you use Indirect and Direct Object Pronouns in the same sentence. That lesson will be coming soon!

My Direct Object Pronoun Video:

 

My "How To Say 'I Like' in Italian" video