2

So I believe the line below translates to, Love what you do

I'm not entirely sure why the lo is needed but more than that I'm confused by its position in the sentence. I though direct object pronouns either come before the verb or can be attached to the end of an infinite verb (if there are two verbs)

Ama lo que haces

  • 1
    Translation is correct, other examples are: - Mira lo que hiciste. Look what you have done - Escucha lo que dijo. Hear what he/she has said – Santiago Jan 18 '18 at 12:03
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    It is easier to see the parallel with English if you translate it as Love that which you do. – mdewey Jan 18 '18 at 12:09
2

This is a different lo. The one you refer to is the 3rd person personal pronoun, which is used to refer to something or someone mentioned before and different from the one who speaks or writes:

No te pediré perdón, aunque no te lo creas.
A su señoría lo aprecian mucho.

But in "Ama lo que haces," lo is the neuter form of the articles el, la. It is used:

  • Before adjectives.

    Le encanta lo étnico.

  • Before complements with the preposition de.

    No me explicaste lo de ayer.

  • Before relative clauses (as in your example).

    ¿No te interesa lo que dice?

It has other uses you can check in the DLE link above (ckeck the definitions 9-11 marked as art. deter. n.).

  • so lo can be 1) 3rd person personal pronoun & 2) a neutral form of el or la. Nice and confusing :-) – mHelpMe Jan 18 '18 at 12:46
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    @mHelpMe it just depends on what comes next (depende de lo que venga después). :-) – Charlie Jan 18 '18 at 12:50
  • so if its a verb that comes next is it then a 3rd person personal pronoun otherwise its the other form? Or am I misunderstanding? – mHelpMe Jan 18 '18 at 13:14
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    @mHelpMe ...ish. If it's a verb it's almost always a pronoun, except when it's a participle. Example: Ver lo especificado más arriba (See what's specified above). Bueno, lo dicho, nos vemos (Well, as I said, be seeing you). – Charlie Jan 18 '18 at 13:19
  • the "el" or "la" in this case are not pronouns, are the translation of the particle "the". or "that" – Mike Jan 18 '18 at 14:25
1

The existing answer is great, but since you are feeling confused about the two functions of lo, I am going to write a supplementary answer.

If you see it in a sentence, without "que", it's a plain old pronoun. Examples:

  1. Préstame tu libro, por favor. Prometo leerlo rápido.

Lend me your book, please. I promise to read it quickly.

  1. -- ¿Dónde está mi lápiz? ¡No lo encuentro!

    -- Está en la mesa, junto al cuaderno. ¿No lo ves?

"Where's my pencil? I can't find it!"

"It's on the table, next to the notebook. Don't you see it?"

But if you see it with "que", then it's like in your sentence ("Ama lo que haces"). Examples:

Lo que no entiendo es el tercer problema de página 127. | What I don't understand is the third problem on page 127.

Creo que entiendo lo que propones. | I think I understand what you're proposing.

As @mdewey commented, it can be helpful to think of it as meaning

that which

Example:

I think I understand that which you're proposing.

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