I am studying Spanish with Michel Thomas Method. It says the following:

I don’t know him. = No lo conozco.

I don't understand this? I thought lo means it. Shouldn't it be le? If not, then when do you use lo to mean he?

  • You use lo for he when there exists no direct object. le, when used with a verb as an indirect object, can translate to to him/her/it and for him/her/it.
    – Jacob
    Jul 7, 2015 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


Because he is the direct object. And the masculine direct object is lo. Although, you could still get away with saying No le conozco, it would mean more like

I don't know him know him.'


He isn't known to me.

As in, I don't know how he is as a person... ,I haven't gotten to know him. Whereas, no lo conozco is straightforward don't know who he is.


As mentioned by guifa, LE in that context can also express courtesy. While lo can, as you mentioned in your OP big_smile, refer to it.. and if you're trying to be formal, you definitely don't want to refer to someone as it

  • 1
    Although lo can be translated to it in English... it simply refers to an object, a person, a place, or a thing.
    – dockeryZ
    Jul 7, 2015 at 16:50
  • 1
    Le is an indirect object.
    – dockeryZ
    Jul 7, 2015 at 16:51
  • 2
    this should help you chompchomp.com/terms/indirectobject.htm
    – dockeryZ
    Jul 7, 2015 at 16:54
  • 3
    @dockerys le is normally an indirect object, but for some speakers it can function as a direct object. For users of the leísmo de cortesía, pretty common in the Americas, le conozco would be "I don't know you, sir/ma'am", whereas lo conozco would be "I don't know him". Jul 8, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    @big_smile err, yes, both of my Spanish sentences needed a no in front (or the English ones needed to be in the affirmative). This is what I get for typing things out when I need to be in bed. Jul 8, 2015 at 11:51

In "no lo conozco", the "lo" stands for "him". Therefore making it I don't know "him" as opposed to "no conozco" which would just mean "I don't know".

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