The sentence I'm reading is:

"Esto nunca podré superarlo"

My confusion is concerning the "lo" after "superar".

Why is it that the "lo" is needed when it is clear we're talking about "this" (esto)?

Also, would it be correct to say:

"Nunca podré superar esto"?

2 Answers 2


DPD explains that if the direct (or indirect) object appears at the beginning of the sentence for reasons other than emphasis, the pronominal object must also be used, thus leading to a duplication of the object:

5.2. Si el complemento tónico no es un pronombre personal y aparece antepuesto al verbo, también es obligatoria la coaparición del pronombre átono, tanto si el complemento es directo como indirecto: A tu hermano lo vi en el cine (no *A tu hermano vi en el cine); La tarta la llevo yo (no *La tarta llevo yo); A mi madre le he dicho la verdad (no *A mi madre he dicho la verdad); A Juan le han denegado la beca (no *A Juan han denegado la beca). Deben diferenciarse estas construcciones, con el complemento tónico antepuesto y coaparición del pronombre átono, de aquellas en que la anteposición del complemento es enfática, contrastiva, en las que no coaparece el pronombre átono: Un libro te daré, y no dos (y no *Un libro te lo daré, y no dos).

I've been thinking that with certain verbs the object will tend to be duplicated at all times even if the non-pronominal object is placed at the beginning for contrast, and "superar" seems to be one of them:

  1. Este problema podré superarlo, pero otras cosas no.

Duplication of the object seems to be the rule, and non-duplication, the exception. In the sentence provided by DPD where duplication does not occur:

  1. Un libro te daré, y no dos.

it seems that "te" precludes the use of "lo". For example, we can very well say:

  1. Un libro lo leo, pero dos no.


  1. Un libro leo, no una revista.

According to this site, duplication does not take place when the object is indefinite or unspecified:

A mi mujer la conocí en una fiesta de cumpleaños.

A tu hermana la vi en el cine (no *A tu hermana vi en el cine).

A mi hijo le han denegado la beca (no *A mi hijo han denegado la beca).

Cuando el complemento directo antepuesto al verbo es indeterminado o inespecífico, se forma sin duplicación:

Malas noticias me traes.

Hay casos en los que la anteposición del complemento es enfática, contrastiva. En estos casos no es obligatorio el clítico:

Veinte euros te daré, y no cien (y no *Veinte euros te los daré, y no cien).

As regards non-duplication with indeterminate objects, I don't find anything wrong with example (3) above. This might be because "un" is not an indefinite article but a cardinal number there.

Also, I think this:

  • A tu hermana vi en el cine.

is possible if the person not seen is implicit in the context:

A: ¿Así que viste a mi prima en el cine?

B: A tu hermana vi en el cine. (Implicit: ... no a tu prima)

  • Thanks for the link to the site and the explanation. It leads to my second question, however, which was basically, why is the "esto" in front of the sentence to begin with? Is it not put there for emphasis? And if I'm not wanting to emphasize "esto", could I just say "Nunca podré superar esto"?
    – jwdwsn
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 15:30
  • 2
    Yes, that sentence is perfect. "esto" or other non-pronominal objects may be placed at the beginning for topicalization.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 15:37

You can use “lo” either before or after. Before it is a pronoun and after is part of the verb.

The meaning of “Esto nunca podré superarlo” is the same as “Esto nunca lo podré superar”.

If you do not want to use “lo”, you can say “Nunca podré superar esto”. It has the same meaning.

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