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This is a sentence from "La Forma de la Espada", by Borges:

Entonces yo volví, derribé de un golpe al soldado, sacudí a Vincent Moon, lo insulté y le ordené que me siguiera.

I think I understand the theory of direct/indirect pronouns, but I don't understand the usage in this sentence. Why is Vincent Moon the direct object in "lo insulté", but then the indirect object in "le ordené".

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  • Handy "cheat sheet" for pronouns, leísmo, laísmo, loísmo – Diego Dec 20 '14 at 21:35
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That's because with the verb ordenar the direct object is the given order, and the indirect object is the recipient of that order. With insultar you have only a direct object, the one receiving the insult.

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  • Great answer. In case it helps to clarify: In "le ordené (a Moon) que me siguiera" "le" refers to Moon. If it was "lo ordené" the "lo" would refer to the order given. – Diego Dec 20 '14 at 21:33
  • Oh, this is a new concept for me. I need to figure this out better. – AndaBien Dec 20 '14 at 21:42
  • I'm not clear about the distinction between these two verbs. They are both intransitive. Don't both have to have a direct object? Are you saying that the verb is the direct object, also? – AndaBien Dec 21 '14 at 18:20
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    @AndaBien both verbs are transitive, meaning they both take a direct object. The difference is that ordenar also takes an indirect object. – rsanchez Dec 21 '14 at 19:12
  • @AndaBien "que me siguiera" is the direct object for ordenar. – rsanchez Dec 21 '14 at 19:14
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The direct complement can be sometimes preceded by the preposition a, like in the case of your example:

insulté a Vicente = lo insulté

This happens when the direct object is animate, like a person:

Vi a tu hermano = lo vi

Vi tu carro = lo vi

Check RAE's "Nueva gramática de la lengua española" 34.8 El complemento directo preposicional (I). Nombres y pronombres. Complementos de persona for a thorough explanation.

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