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I was wondering if you should ever attach the indirect and direct object pronoun to a conjugated verb, and if so, when that would occur?

For example, let's say I wanted to convert "La maestra da un examen a nosotros" to use the indirect and direct object pronouns:

La maestra nos lo da.

La maestra danoslo.

Which should I use?

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  • 1
    "[...] da un examen a nosotros" is not correct. It should be "[...] nos da un examen (a nosotros)".
    – MikMik
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 7:03
  • As far as I know, when a teacher does an exam or a test to his/her pupils, in Spanish we say "tomar un examen". This depends on the point of view: because on the other hand, the student should say "dar un examen": "La maestra toma un examen a los alumnos"; "Los alumnos dan un examen". Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 15:11
  • 1
    @Nicolás In Spain it's different, we just say: "la maestra pone un examen a los alumnos" and "los alumnos hacen un examen".
    – Javi
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 8:45
  • ¿"tomar un examen a los alumnos" para hacer un examen a los alumnos? In English, we say give an exam to students not do.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 21 at 15:45

4 Answers 4

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The position of those pronouns before or after the verb is given by the rules which are in the section 3 of this link of RAE.

A quick summary of what RAE says in that link:

They have to go before the verb:

  • with verbs in indicative mood (it's archaic to place them after the verb):
  • with verbs in subjuctive mood (for non exhorting verbs)

They have to go after the verb:

  • with verbs in imperative mood
  • with verbs in subjuctive mood (for exhorting verbs)
  • with verbs in infinitive or gerund (in verbal periphrasis it usually can be placed also before).

In your example you are using the verb dar in the indicative mood. For that reason those pronouns should be placed before the verb. So the correct one would be:

La maestra nos lo da.

You have to take into account that the word "da" can be a present of indicative but also an imperative:

(Él/Ella) da - present of indicative

da (tú) - imperative

So if you place the pronouns after the verb then people would think you are using imperative:

Nos lo da --> He gives it to us

Dánoslo --> Give it to us. (imperative)

So yor second sentence:

La maestra dánoslo* (Incorrect)

would be incorrect because you can't use "la maestra" with an imperative.

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  • "La maestra dánoslo" can be correct, but not as an imperative, but as an affirmative sentence. It's and oldish construction.
    – FGSUZ
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 19:24
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The correct form is the first one. Alternatively:

Danoslo la maestra

But you'll rarely find this construct in prose.

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Although both forms are correct, the second one sounds extremely archaic/poetical. You should never attach pronouns in normal speech, the natural one is

Nos lo da. (She gives it to us)

The exception are imperatives. Imperatives are always attached, otherwise you'd confuse an affirmative sentence with an order:

¡Dánoslo! (give us that)

(and don't forget the accent mark).

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The affirmative imperative command form attaches the direct or indirect pronoun to the conjugated verb.

I am teaching myself Spanish and found it virtually impossible to Google the explanation of the word dime. What's worse, the social media results that lead results; Quora, Reddit all said the pronouns precede conjugated verbs. Good luck googling accent placement. Social media results are not accurate. A site like this I will trust.

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  • That does not seem to add much to the existing much fuller answers.
    – mdewey
    Commented Mar 22 at 16:51

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