I'm seeing expressions like te lo digo (I tell you) and lo sé (I know). However I'm not quite sure about the usage of lo here. I well know about its usage in lo que, but what about these:

  • Lo + present/preterit conjugation of verb (te lo digo)
  • Lo

And an additional question: Why do we say no sé instead of no lo for the meaning of "I don't know"?

  • In fact, I say "no lo sé" quite more often than "no sé".
    – Charlie
    Nov 13, 2017 at 9:46
  • No sé vs. no lo sé is a dialectal thing. Just pay attention to how nearby Spanish speakers say it, and go with that. :)
    – pablodf76
    Nov 13, 2017 at 15:49
  • 1
    Literally "no lo sé" is "I don't know it" but of course in English we wouldn't express the idea that way, we'd say, "I don't know that," or "I don't know the answer," or "I don't know the reason," or "I don't know why," or whatever the case may be. // "Te lo dije" = "I told you that" or "I told you so." "Te lo digo" = "I'm telling you so." (This is a natural translation, not a literal, word for word translation. "Lo" definitely means "it" but when you want to find the equivalent in English you have to find a natural phrase that people actually say.) Nov 13, 2017 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


In those cases, "lo" means "it":

  • Te lo digo (I'm telling you it).
  • Lo sé (I know it).

You can check it in the DLE:

lo, la

Del lat. illum, illam, illud, acus. de ille, illa, illud 'aquel'.
Neutro lo.
Forma átona de él.

  1. pron. person. 3.ª pers. m., f. y n. Forma que, en acusativo, designa a alguien o algo mencionado en el discurso, distinto de quien lo enuncia y del destinatario. A tus amigas las vi en la playa. No te pediré perdón, aunque no te lo creas.

This is one of the few neuter words in Spanish. The second example in the definition ilustrates it:

... aunque no te lo creas (though you don't believe it).

Maybe thus you will see it clearer:

—¿Sabías que...? —Sí, lo sabía.
—Did you know that... —Yes, I knew that (it).

  • 2
    Una forma que creo que es sencilla de cambiar las frases de "lo" es sustituyendolo por "eso": "te lo digo">"te digo eso", no suena bien porque no se usa en el dia a dia, pero a fin de cuentas es lo que significa ese "lo".
    – Brian H.
    Nov 13, 2017 at 12:17

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