In "La Compuerta Número 12" by Baldomero Lillo some pronouns are placed on the end of the verb rather than before it. Why aren't the pronouns placed before the verb? Is it an older style and if so when is it used because not all of the pronouns are placed at the end of the verb? Some examples in the text of the pronoun at the end of the verb include:

"Zumbábanle los oídos y el piso que huía debajo de sus pies le producía una extraña sensación de angustia."

"Pasado un minuto, la velocidad disminuyó bruscamente, los pies asentáronse con más solidez en el piso fugitivo..."

In both examples I would have placed the pronoun before the verb and when I try typing the sentences into Microsoft Word it doesn't recognize them. A full copy of the text is available here: La compuerta número 12

  • This section may help lema.rae.es/dpd/?id=elLl31yYnD65MTS9uF you want section 3 in it which tells you the rules. Someone more knowledgeable than me can probably tell you precisely what is happening here.
    – mdewey
    Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is an older style. It is used almost exclusively in literature. You can technically use it with any verb that uses a pronoun; your first example could be rewritten like this:

"Zumbábanle los oídos, el piso huíale bajo sus pies y producíale una extraña sensación que angustiábale."

That is correct Spanish, but that would get old pretty quickly, so it is used sparsely.

  • 2
    Actually, that last one can't be "agustiábale", it would be "le angustiaba" as it's in a relative clause. Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 17:08
  • They were very common in newspaper titles even in the 70s. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 0:52

It's called pronombre enclítico.

In some cases, it's very standard and usual. In the case of your quote, in which the verb is in indicative, it's not usual, it only appears in (old) literature. See details in link above.

An example from El Quijote. Notice the variation (preguntéle - le pregunté), which sugests that the enclicital form is (was) preferred at the start of a phrase.

Preguntéle si había ido allá el vizcaíno de marras; díjome que sí y que era un hombre muy de bien. También le pregunté por los galeotes, mas díjome que no había visto hasta entonces alguno.

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