Can somebody explain the grammar behind this Colombian expression? Assuming it's the indirect object pronoun, to what or whom does the "le" refer?

And why is it missing a direct object pronoun? Why isn't it hágalo or hágaselo or hazlo?

2 Answers 2


Hágalo is do it by yourself
Hágaselo is do it to/for him/her
Hazlo is just do it.
Hágale is go ahead and do something.

-le refers to Usted

The pronoun can be omitted (hence is missing) since it would be too long to say hágale usted pues but in some cases the answer to ¡hágale pues! could be No. Hágale ustéd.

In Colombia this expression is used in the same way as upa usually to tell someone that is passive regarding some situation to go into action and do something.


  • Mother to child at 6:00 am: Mijo hágale pues levántese que lo coge la noche pa' ir al colegio. Son, hurry wake up or you are going to be late for school

  • Wife to husband: Hágale pues cambie el foco del baño que lleva quemado ocho días. Honey, get up and change the bathroom light bulb that's been broken for a week

Other use is on a dare

  • child 1: A que yo corro más que usted. I bet I'm faster than you
  • child 2: ¡Hágale pues! apostemos. (child 2 is accepting the challenge and starts running to prove it) Come on and put you money where your mouth is

And lastly (and thanks to Rodrigo for reminding me) pues is an interjection that helps express the sense of urgency or need for an immediate action. i.e ¡Hágale! is less urgent than ¡Hágale pues!

  • 2
    So aris said: What is the meaning of hágale pues? And DGaleano replied: ¡Hágale pues! Yo te explico.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:12
  • @fedorqui hahaha....exactly! Good example.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 20:13
  • Note that "pues" is an almost meaningless interjection. In Chile we shortened it to "pueh" or "poh".
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 13:58
  • 1
    Thanks @Rodrigo for reminding me that I had not said anything about "pues". I edited my answer.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:50
  • 1
    Don't "hágalo" and "hazlo" mean the same thing ? AFAIK the only difference between them is the verb conjugation person of the imperative tense: the former is in 3rd person singular and the latter is in 2nd person singular. Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 10:26

After reading this Wikipedia entry for "órale," I am concluding that the "le" in "hágale pues" is in fact a grammatical expletive and not an indirect object pronoun.

Describing "órale" here's what the Wikipedia entry says:

The word’s origin is a shortening of “ahora”, meaning “now”, with the added suffix “-le”, which is a grammatical expletive – a word part that occupies a position without adding to the sense,[1] i.e. “ándale” and “épale”

From a separate Wikipedia entry:

A syntactic expletive is a word that performs a syntactic role but contributes nothing to meaning

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