From theory, we know that lo and la go with direct objects, and le with indirect object.

This is an example:

I read the book. (The book is D.O.)
Leo el libro. Lo leo.

I give the book to Maria. (The book is D.O., Maria is the I.O.)
Doy el libro a María. Le doy el libro. Lo doy a ella. Se lo doy.

Now, forgive my overly grammatical approach. It's not that I don't know how it's used (my Spanish level is quite advanced). The thing is I'm quite perplexed with the actual use... I mean what I hear around me (I live in Granada), which at times sounds very... well... wrong.

At times it seems as if most people casually use the I.O. form where there is a personal a. Which, as we all know, doesn't necessarily imply an indirect object.

For example:

Invité a María/Pablo a la fiesta. (Maria/Pablo, despite the a, is not an I.O, it's a D.O)

Now, here... my idea is I have to use La/lo invité. The thing is I mostly hear le invité. Which sounds sooo wrong to me.

However, every time I'm about to use something like that, I'm always afraid that I'm going to use the right form but to everyone else it's going to sound... wrong.

So, what's the truth in that? Is it something along the lines of "do as I say, not as I do"? Is it a purely... local issue? Is it me who is wrong?

P.S. My main concern is not only grammatical correctness. My spanish (and accent) are good enough so I want it to sound as natural as possible, even if this means using something that's not stricly correct... Qué os suena más natural? (y de dónde sois?, que parece ser de lo más importante jaja)

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    I tagged your post diferencias-regionales, because this is a case of leísmo (wrong use of le when it should be la/lo) most likely attributable to local practice/usage. I also tagged it españa because I didn't find a more specific one. Let's hope an Andalusian answers.
    – Rafael
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 13:54
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    This is not only about Spanish but my advise is: If you know the right way to do/say something and everybody around you is doing/saying it wrong, you should do/say it the right way. Now, if you want/need to be a "Kameleon" and camouflage yourself and not be noticed, then that's your call.
    – DGaleano
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 13:54
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    @DGaleano Loved this answer :) Commented May 11, 2018 at 14:03
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    Lo dije, le dije = two different things; lo invite, le invite = the same thing..what ?
    – Mike
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


The use of leísmos is frowned upon by RAE when referring to objects. Its use is only allowed as a replacement for singular masculine direct objects that are human, and this decision was only made due to the high prevalence of speakers who use this form — leismo.

¿Has visto a Juan? Sí, le vi ayer.

(Note that the strictly correct way to say the sentence above is by replacing le for lo.)

Plural forms of leísmo are not accepted due to their scarce use in texts even as far back as the first texts in Spanish. When the pronoun acts as an indirect complement, the only accepted forms are le and les (for plural).

Laísmos (and loísmos) are strictly forbidden:

laísmo. 1. Es el uso impropio de la(s) en función de complemento indirecto femenino, en lugar de le(s), que es la forma a la que corresponde etimológicamente ejercer esa función

loísmo. 1. Es el uso impropio de lo(s) en función de complemento indirecto masculino (de persona o de cosa) o neutro (cuando el antecedente es un pronombre neutro o toda una oración), en lugar de le(s), que es la forma a la que corresponde etimológicamente ejercer esa función

Incorrect use of la (laísmo) / lo (loísmo) and their plural forms as feminine (laísmo) / masculino (loísmo) indirect complement

If you read the definition of leísmo, it is, in fact, very similar:

leísmo. 1. Es el uso impropio de le(s) en función de complemento directo, en lugar de lo (para el masculino singular o neutro), los (para el masculino plural) y la(s) (para el femenino), que son las formas a las que corresponde etimológicamente ejercer esa función

...incorrect use of *le* as direct complement

However, RAE explicitly allows one use case for leísmo, it doesn't allow use cases for laísmo/loísmo.

Regional considerations

As you may have noticed, discovering these incorrect structures is very easy for someone who hasn't been hearing them. (I come from Latin America where its use is almost zero.) They sound blatantly wrong to the ears of someone who doesn't use them. Laísmo is mostly used in Madrid and also the northern part of Spain. Leísmo is employed in Castilla y León. (Valladolid, where the so-called world's best Spanish is spoken, is very leísta.) Loísmo is the least used and its use is almost exclusively in areas of Asturian influence. (These usage notes come from my experience living in Spain.)


So, to your question. This comes solely from my personal experience so it may be wrong, but living in Valladolid and Madrid for several years allowed me to hear a lot of leísmos and laísmos. Many friends, lifetime-leístas or lifetime-laístas did in fact notice different usages of le and la for those of us who weren't leístas or laístas. The use of leísmo/laísmo doesn't sound bad to them, so it is difficult for them to change their ways (as they expressed), but they did try to correct themselves while talking with us. Rather than develop habits that may be difficult to break later, I advise you to use le, lo, and la in a grammatically correct way each time you use them.

TL;DR As a Spanish speaker, you must stick to the correct usages of the language. People won't get mad at you and it won't sound bad.

Fun fact: I have a coworker from Granada and he's against the use of leísmo and laísmo. He probably has a different background than the people you hear using leísmos and laísmos.

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    It is also accepted when the direct object is usted(es), called the leísmo de cortesía and found in various parts all over the Spanish speaking world Commented May 11, 2018 at 18:18

I think the problem of "Le invite" and "Lo invite" centers on how easy it is to confuse the direct object (DO) from the indirect object (IO).

One clear example would be :

"Le invite un cafe" where it is clear that the DO is the "cafe" while
"Le\lo invite a una fiesta" becomes confusing.

Could it be that in the sentence "le\lo invite a una fiesta" the DO and the IO change places?

--Sorry for answering with a question, but now I am more confused.

  • You invited "him"... "him" receives the action of the verb "invite"; hence, "him" is the Direct Object.... in this case, I don't think there is an Indirect Object... the cafe is part of a prepositional phrase "a un cafe".... likewise, the "fiesta" is also not an Indirect Object... "a una fiesta". Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 19:26

It is my understanding, from many years of teaching Spanish, that "le" can be used as a direct object when referring to a person.

I can give you a reference, but I know that I read this in one of the many textbooks I used when teaching.

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