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I know that there are (at least) three types of personal pronouns in Spanish (well, and English): direct, indirect, and reflexive. In cases where all three (or at least two) are present, what is the correct ordering of these pronouns?

Also, why is this the correct ordering of these pronouns? That is, is there a reason that the order is...whatever it is?

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Is this like "no me importa"? –  Richard Nov 17 '11 at 17:41
Yes -- there, that's an indirect object pronoun, since the verb (to be important) is happening to you. By contrast, reflexive pronouns are things one does to oneself -- you bathe yourself (ducharse), you dress yourself (vestirese), etc. –  Aarthi Nov 17 '11 at 17:43
Maybe you dress yourself... –  Flimzy Nov 17 '11 at 17:44
Maybe you can post some examples? –  Joze Nov 17 '11 at 17:52
Do you mean "three types of pronouns in Spanish" or "three types of object pronouns in Spanish"? Subject, Direct, Indirect, Reflexive. –  hippietrail Nov 17 '11 at 18:55
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The correct order can be remembered by the acronym RID (as in, "I need to get RID of this confusion about pronouns!") for reflexive, indirect, direct.

All three pronouns can't appear together, but two can in the following combinations:

  • Reflexive-Indirect: Se me olvidó. ("I forgot." or literally "It forgot itself to me.")
  • Reflexive-Direct: Me lo pongo. ("I put it on.")
  • Indirect-Direct: Me lo dio. ("He gave it to me.")

Also remember the la-la rule: if both pronouns start with the letter l, change the first pronoun to se.

As to why it is how it is, I wasn't able to find anything. This is most likely part of the natural evolution of a language over time, as opposed to an instance of grammarians sitting down and deciding on a rule.

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May I ask which example type, if any, matches the following? 'Ella me dijo que' which I understand is 'She told me that' –  jasonmcclurg Dec 8 '11 at 4:04
@jasonmcclurg: That example has only one object pronoun. Ella is the subject pronoun, me is an indirect object pronoun, and dijo is the verb. –  jrdioko Dec 8 '11 at 17:17
Ah, yes, thank you. That is helpful. –  jasonmcclurg Dec 9 '11 at 4:39
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