Which is better? Pintándoles or pintándolos?

I've always had a lot of trouble choosing the right pronoun between lo and *le". I have a feeling it's because I learned Spanish in Mexico. I suspect there's more lo there, and more le in places like Spain and Colombia.

My audience will be Dominican readers of a scholarly journal.

The context is more or less like this:

La imagen refuerza ciertos estereotipos comunes en Estados Unidos de negros, pintándoles de ignorantes etc.

  • they'll understand either one, if you are looking for a negative connotation tiñendoles/los would work better maybe. i dont think there is an equivalent in english (for the expression not the word, the word is dyeing)
    – Rostol
    Mar 14 '17 at 3:13
  • @Rostol - That's a fancy word! I'll offer it as an option in a comment. Mar 14 '17 at 3:41
  • 1
    It turns out we have a canonical question that addresses this: spanish.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2505/9385 Apr 19 '18 at 0:54

Go with pintándolos. The form with -les is definitely something that you might hear in Spain but generally not elsewhere; its use is called leísmo. The le/les forms, in standard Spanish, are reserved for the indirect object (or dative), while in the example you have pintar, which takes a direct object:

pintando a los negros = pintándolos

Note the difference if you wanted to say that someone is actually painting (on) black people's faces:

pintando las caras a los negros = pintándoles las caras

The difference is that, despite the fact that they look the same, a los negros in the former example is the direct object (preceded by "personal a" as usual) while in the latter it is the indirect object (preceded by the preposition a that marks IOs as a rule).

Wikipedia in Spanish says that leísmo is found in several places in the Americas, often alternating with la/lo. At least in Argentina I'd say leísmo is extremely rare, possibly limited to a few verbs; in the case of your example it would be immediately be heard as wrong.

  • And now I have to decide between "dentro de un marco que le incluye" vs. "dentro de un marco que la incluye." The pronoun refers to a person (woman). Mar 14 '17 at 3:43
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    @aparente001 By the same logic, it's la incluye. (I think there's no way to use incluir with an indirect object, unless it's a so-called "dative of benefit" - something like le puedo incluir un extra en la oferta.)
    – pablodf76
    Mar 14 '17 at 10:08
  • @pablodf76 le puedo incuir also works if you are talking to an Usted
    – Rafael
    Mar 16 '17 at 18:14

I'm always pleased to help foreign people to understand our beautiful language.

Look, it's very easy, let's use as example the word "instalar" that translated to english is "install"

EXAMPLE: "I'm going to install this in here" --- "Voy a instalar esto aquí"

If I say: "Voy a instalarle esto" it means: "I'm going to install this TO YOU " but it can also means: "I'm going to install this TO HER" or "I'm going to install this TO HIM"

In the other hand, if I say: "Voy a instalarlo" it means: "I'm going to install it"

Look that if I use "lo" in english is like putting the pronoun "it" at the end. But when I use "le" I'm refering to another person, it can be YOU, it can be HER or it can be HIM.

Wait a minute! beacuse unfortunately is not that easy because there are some sentences that "le" or "lo" are ok in any context, for example in your sentence "La imagen refuerza ciertos estereotipos comunes en Estados Unidos de negros, pintándoles de ignorantes etc." is ok to use "le" or "lo".

It depends on the sentence. You will only understand what I'm saying living too much time in a spanish speaking country. But for ease of terms you can use the rule I explained above. I hope you have understood me. Thanks!

  • "Voy a instalarle esto" could also mean "I'm going to install this TO/FOR/ON you/him/her"
    – DGaleano
    Mar 16 '17 at 18:07
  • Suppose a political boss is going to install a protegé in a particular bureaucratic structure. Le or lo? Mar 18 '17 at 13:55
  • Nor "le" nor "lo" none of those. The traduction would be "El jefe va a instalar un Protegé burocratico en su gobierno".
    – user14601
    Mar 19 '17 at 15:15

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