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".

  • Handy "cheat sheet" for pronouns, leísmo, laísmo, loísmo
    – Diego
    Dec 20, 2014 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 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, 2014 at 21:33
  • Oh, this is a new concept for me. I need to figure this out better.
    – AndaBien
    Dec 20, 2014 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, 2014 at 18:20
  • 1
    @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, 2014 at 19:12
  • @AndaBien "que me siguiera" is the direct object for ordenar.
    – rsanchez
    Dec 21, 2014 at 19:14

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.