Le pegó un par de puñetazos que le hicieron sangre y le arrancó el aparato de las manos. (Source)

This refers to a man and a woman fighting. How do I know who "le" refers to? Is it the woman or man?

  • 1
    Could you add some more context? Also if you have the source (a book?).
    – pablodf76
    Nov 1, 2019 at 23:00
  • Statistically speaking, the probable gender arrangement is the perpetrator being male. But the sentence gives no indication. Nov 2, 2019 at 4:29
  • Thank you for providing the link. Do you see that it's completely clear who's who from the context? // Note, when a Spanish speaker makes a statement without enough context for the listener/reader to know who's who, then they will not do so much omitting of subjects. For example: El tipo le pegó un par de puñetazos a la frutera que le hicieron sangre y le arrancó el aparato que tenía en la mano. Nov 3, 2019 at 7:54
  • Mmm.. thanks. I still think it may be hard for non-native speakers to decipher this at times, but I take your point on the whole.
    – Bluelion7
    Nov 3, 2019 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


There is no way to know who is being attacked, or perpetrating the aggression, with that phrase alone.

The sentence uses a pronoun le which is valid for both masculine or feminine subjects.

le [source)[1)

(...) 2. pron. person. 3.ª pers. m. y f. Forma que, en dativo, designa a la persona a la que se dirige quien habla o escribe.

Update: the news article that you included in the comment shows the context to know that it was a woman who got hit —cowardly so, from a man punishing her with a politically loaded reason.

Regarding the grammar question, on the possibilities of the language, to be explicit about the gender with that sole sentence the femenine third person pronoun la source would suffice

The sentence would have been unambiguous had it been written to read:

Le pegó un par de puñetazos, que la hicieron sangrar, y le arrancó el aparato de las manos. [ made her bleed ]

  • elpais.com/politica/2019/10/30/actualidad/…. La peligrosa decisión de vender peras de Lleida. I think it s a bit annoying that you need a context to understand the subject unlike in English, She hit him or He hit her. Why can this happen? This happens a lot. . I know in both languages it can happen if the 2 subjects are both men or women and a wider context is needed. I realise it was the woman ho got hit but is there a way of being clearer within a sentence alone? It can get confusing at times
    – Bluelion7
    Nov 2, 2019 at 22:00

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