For those unfamiliar with indirect object pronouns, but instead use them as native speakers, they are basically me, te, le, nos, les, each of which represent for me, for you, for him/her, for us, or for them.

A example of sentences using IOP :

yo saco a pasear al perro ( i walk my dog)

This is actually from my textbook, and is the sentence in which the use of IOP conflicts with what I think is how IOP is supposed to be used.

This is what I think is correct as opposed to the previous example:

yo saco a pasearle al perro

Notice it is pasearle, not pasear.

  • Why do you think that's correct? There is no indirect object in this example, only a direct object: el perro.
    – rsanchez
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 20:57
  • Yes, the first sentence is right. I was asking why do you think your example is the right one.
    – rsanchez
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 21:00
  • Because it is always yo le doy el regalo a mi amigo. It is never yo doy el regalo a mi amigo, short of the le.
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 21:01
  • So following from the same logic, it is supposed to be pasearle if there is a a.
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 21:02
  • @Doeser There is nothing wrong with "doy el regalo a mi amigo". Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


The DPD gives good advice on this topic. Basically, there is one exception to when you can't indirect object pronoun. Here are the rules copied from another answer I gave a while back.

  • If the object (indirect or direct) is a person pronoun (mí, ti, etc) and included anywhere in the sentence, you must include the pronoun with the verb (indirect or direct): Me castigaron a mí but not *castigaron a mí (DPD “pronombres personales átonos” 5.1)
  • If the object (indirect or direct) comes before the verb (OSV or OVS sentences), you must include the pronoun with verb, animate or not: A los problemas del mundo no les doy mucha importancia, but not *A los problemas del mundo no doy mucha importancia, except for emphatic statements (ibid. 5.2)
  • Verbs of affection require the indirect object pronoun except for the so-called universal quantifiers (todo, nadie, etc). (ibid. 5.2(a))
  • When you are being intentionally emphatic or contrastive, you cannot have the indirect object pronoun. For example A ti lo daré, a él no. Here, saying Te lo daré, a él no would sound very odd. (ibid. 5.2)

If the indirect object comes after the verb and isn't a personal pronoun (so a Juan, a los estudiantes or al problema), then it is almost always completely optional, if quite common especially in speech. The handful of exceptions include gustar and similar verbs, which do require it except when the indirect object is a universal quantifier like nadie/todo/etc. in which case it's once again optional (ibid. 5.2(a)).

All this said, in your example, we're not looking at a indirect object but an direct object. Normally, direct objects are bare/unmarked (like the subject), and indirect object pronouns are introduced with a or para. However, some direct objects are introduced with a. There are two situations this can happen in:

  • The direct object is animate, that is, a person or an animal of roughly equal stature like pets (very common).
  • The direct object could be confused for the subject (very rare).

If you wanted to use a direct object pronoun, you should use lo, although le is allowed both formally (for masculine animate singular direct object pronouns) and in leísmo non-standard usage (general use of le for direct object pronouns). This is not a case, however, where the direct object allows for coappearance. Hence, your le will only be interpreted as an indirect object pronoun, and we do don't know for whom you're taking out the dog, or, we could interpret el perro as for whom, but then we still don't know who/what you took out out for a walk.

  • I googled DPD with no avail. What is DPD in this context ? Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 1:58
  • @chapelo the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas published by the ASALE and the RAE, I've added a link and more specific citations in the answer. Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 2:29
  • I am taking the dog out for a walk. Definitely for myself, very self evident.
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:43
  • Le has never been to me suitable to be used for direct objects.
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    «being intentionally emphatic or contrastive, you cannot have the indirect object pronoun» ?? the very example you gave sounds wrong to me. I would still add the te, i.e. "a ti te lo daré, a él no"
    – clinch
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 21:55

Consider your first sentence

Yo saco a pasear al perro (CD).

Yo saco a pasearlo (el perro) or Yo lo saco a pasear

Now consider your second sentence

Yo saco a pasear al perro (CD) a mi vecino (CI)

Yo saco a pasearle (a mi vecino) el perro.

Yo saco a paseárlelo → paseárselo. (where le is changed to se and becomes paseárselo)

Yo le → se (CI) lo (CD) saco a pasear.

  • I was going to edit your question, but I don't know if "paseárlelo" is on purpose or if it is a typo.
    – Diego
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 21:53
  • @Diego It is definitely on purpose, just to illustrate the le and lo in the word before it is changed to se due to the spanish rules. But thanks anyway! Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 22:07
  • I thought le is to it, him, or her
    – user11355
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 22:45
  • Está perfecto, explica las diferencias entre las dos frases planteadas por el OP. En efecto, cuando ‘le’ y ‘lo’ se juntan, en realidad no se llevan bien. Por eso hay que cambiar a ‘se’ + ‘lo’ para evitar la cacofonía. En mi opinión esta respuesta es mucho más sintética que la otra; merece ser la respuesta aceptada.
    – tac
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 15:41

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.