04/04/2020

Direct object pronouns: Italian grammar lesson 61

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Direct Object Pronouns: Explained

Pronouns are words that refer and substitute nouns, usually expressed in a previous sentence or implied in the context.

Direct object pronouns (pronomi complemento oggetto) are pronouns that substitute for nouns that serve as the direct object which receives the action of the sentence verb.

Direct object pronouns are used in English as well. For example:

  • Do you like apples?
  • Yes, I love them.

 

  • Have you met Sarah?
  • No, I don’t know her.

As you can see from the examples above, direct object pronouns change according to the nouns they are referring to. For example, in the sentences above, “her” refers to Sarah and indicates a singular feminine entity, while “them” indicates a plural noun.

The only difference between English and Italian, is that English has only one set of object pronouns, while Italian has two different kinds: direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Indirect object pronouns are used when the object of the verb.

For simplicity, this lesson only discusses direct object pronouns.

For now, keep in mind that a direct object is the noun or pronoun receiving the action. A trick for identifying direct objects is that they answer the question “what?”. For example: in the sentence “Louis threw Monica the baseball”, the action is the verb “threw”. What is being thrown? The “baseball” is being thrown, and therefore the baseball is the direct object

For a comparison between Italian and English pronouns, please see the table below:

Person

(English)

Person

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(Italian)

Object Pronoun

(English)

Direct Object Pronoun

(Italian)

I io me mi
you tu you ti
he / she / it lui / lei him / her / it lo / la
we noi us ci
you voi you vi
they loro them li

Direct Object Pronouns: Rules

The most important rule to keep in mind about Italian object pronouns is that they usually appear before the verb, while in English they follow the verb. The word order in Italian is:

Subject (if expressed) + direct object pronoun + verb.

Conosci Mattia e Alberto?

(Do you know Mattia and Alberto?)

Sì, (io) li conosco.

(Yes, I know them.)

Sì, (io) li conosco
Subject direct object pronoun verb

Direct Object Pronouns: Examples

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See the following examples:

Hai visto Lucia? – No, non la ho vista.

Have you seen Lucia? – No, I haven’t seen her.

Ti piace la pizza? – Sì, la mangio tutti i giorni.

Do you like pizza? – Yes, I eat it every day.

Vuoi invitare Marco alla tua festa? – No, non lo voglio invitare, perché non andiamo d’accordo.

Do you want to invite Marco to your party? – No, I don’t want to invite him, because we don’t get along.

Scusami, non ti avevo riconosciuto!

Sorry, I didn’t recognize you!

Italian sentences using direct object pronouns

To practice direct object pronouns, take Lesson 61 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”.

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File A

File B

File C

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the grammar tip on direct object pronouns. In your table, isn’t the direct object pronoun for “them” the word “li” and not “gli” as shown in the table? You give the example, “Conosci Mattia e Alberto? Sì, (io) li conosco.” Thanks for clarifying.

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