¿Por qué no les dio Lupe el dinero a Uds.?

In English, this sentence means:

Why didn't Lupe give money to you?

Why do we need to put "les" in this sentence?

  • 1
    You can drop it, because it refers to ustedes. We can say ¿Por qué no dio Lupe el dinero a ustedes? This is the same as saying ¿Por qué no les dio Lupe el dinero? (= a ustedes)
    – Schwale
    Jul 20, 2016 at 16:46
  • 3
    Also, not a reflexive pronoun but an indirect object pronoun. Jul 20, 2016 at 17:24
  • Note: I've just realised the question above is different because the usage of pronouns with another pronoun ("a Uds.") and with a noun ("a su novia") are governed by different rules. For more info, see my answer on Why use "-las" in "esperándolas"?. According to what I state there, you can't drop the "les" here because Uds. is a personal pronoun, but I cannot tell how natural your sentence without the "les" sounds because I seldom hear anyone use Uds. at all in Spain. (1/2)
    – Yay
    Jul 20, 2016 at 20:30
  • 1
    Anyway, it may sound okay here because the verb and the pronoun are far away from each other. If you put them closer, it doesn't sound that well anymore: ¿Por qué nos les dio a Uds. el dinero Lupe? sounds okey (maybe a bit unusual but not agrammatical), while ¿Por qué no dio a Uds. el dinero Lupe? feels plain wrong to me. (2/2)
    – Yay
    Jul 20, 2016 at 20:31
  • @Ustanak Check out my previous comment. Any thoughts?
    – Yay
    Jul 20, 2016 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


¿Por qué no les dio Lupe el dinero a Uds.?

The majority of the native speakers I talk to say it sounds better and clearer with the "les", which, by the way, is an object pronoun, and is already indicated by a Ustedes. Deleting "les" might possibly render the sentence agramatical.

Please take note that "les" is not reflexive because it refers to "you (plural)", and Lupe was the subject of the sentence.

  • @Gandalf I'm tempted to edit the question title to Why use "les" in "¿Por qué no les dio Lupe el dinero a Uds.?"? but that would invalidate a big part of your answer. Besides that, I don't think you can drop it (see question linked in the comments for references). Not only does it sound worse, but it also makes the sentence aggramatical.
    – Yay
    Jul 21, 2016 at 13:18
  • @Yay I agree that it sounds better with the "les", and including a Ustedes sounds a little clumsy, but I don't know what do to with this post. I am being criticized for including material about the reflexive, but I honestly believed the OP had problems that needed to be addressed concerning that topic as it is often misunderstood. Now I have a big fat -1 sitting on an accepted answer, and that irks me because I cannot even delete it if I want to. Jul 21, 2016 at 18:40
  • 1
    @Gandalf Don't take it personally. The point is, even if you feel the OP would appreciate an explanation on a certain topic, answering something that wasn't really asked is problematic for several reasons: it hinders marking future duplicates (should it be a duplicate of the question or the answer?) as well as finding information on the topic, and it makes it less "upvotable", because by up-voting it it wouldn't be clear why it's being up-voted (do up-voters agree with the real answer or are they expressing they think it is a good idea to veer off the main topic of the question?). (+)
    – Yay
    Jul 21, 2016 at 21:05
  • 1
    (+) If you feel the OP wouldn't be satisfied with just answering their real question, you can always add a few links and/or encourage them to ask a different question (which I don't think is necessary here because the "reflexive se" has already been adressed before). I recommend you edit the last part out and save it in case someone really asks something about "reflexive se". I think that would revert your current vote outcome.
    – Yay
    Jul 21, 2016 at 21:06
  • @Yay Copy that, and understood. Done as you suggested, and many Thanks! That was an extremely astute analysis of the situation. Jul 21, 2016 at 21:16

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