Given this sentence:

El maestro ......... lee un libro.

The correct answer to the above blank is 'nos' or 'les'. But it made me confused why 'los' also not was the correct choice. As I know both mean 'them' and both are the object pronouns.

I would be grateful if somebody would be able to explain me the exact differences between the los and les.

3 Answers 3


This link about the usage of pronouns lo(s), la(s), le(s) might be useful. Basically, lo and la are pronouns used to refer to the direct complement in a sentence, while le is used to refer to a indirect complement.

Lets see the parts of the sentence in your example. Its clear that "el maestro" is the subject and "lee" is the verb. Then you could say that "he reads something to somebody". The "something" (what he reads) is the direct complement and the "somebody" (who is being read) is the indirect one. In case of doubt, the c.d. becomes the subject if you turn the sentence to passive voice ("El libro es leído por el maestro). And the indirect object usually is preceded by a prepositions like "a" or "para" in Spanish ("Lee el libro a alguien).

So you are looking for a pronoun that stands for "us", or "them" or "the students", but the important thing is that, syntactically, that pronoun stands for an indirect object.

Then check the table in the link I provided at the beginning of the answer. The pronoun that we use for a indirect object is le/les. Never "los"


El maestro los lee un libro.

is wrong, since is a case of "loismo", which is the improper use of the pronoun "los" for a direct complement.


"El maestro los lee" would mean that the teacher reads THEM.

"El maestro les lee" means the teacher reads TO them.

"El maestro nos lee" means the teacher reads to US.


"Los" can both mean "them" or "the". For example: "cuidado con los bandidos" and "la niñera nueva los cuida muy bien" are both correct uses of "los". However, in your example it wouldn't be right. Either "nos" or "les" would be correct, the first meaning he reads US a book, and the second meaning he reads THEM a book. "Los" would be an improper use in that case, but it's a very common mistake within mainland Spain and it's called "loísmo". Wikipedia explains everything about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loísmo

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