In one movie scene (translated from English to Spanish) I heard the following:

"Preguntémosle al estupido"

In subtitles was the following:

"Vamos a preguntarle al estupido"

I know that both are correct grammatically, of course.

QUESTION - Am I correct to say that use of "le" in above sentences is optional? While in case if there were used "a él" instead of "al estupido", you would definitely have to use redundant "le"? Correct?

On what I base such assumptions? I have seen the following sentences as examples on reputable website (link - https://www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/pronouns/redundant-object-pronouns/), in which use of "le" stated as optional:

"(Le) estoy hablando a mi hermano. = I’m talking to my brother."

"(Le) traigo unos libros a la escuela. = I’m taking some books to the school."

"Mi idea (le) pareció al profesor la más interesante. = My idea seemed the most interesting to the teacher."

While from this thread I red the following What's the difference between "ti" and "te"?:

As above, you will sometimes find both ti and te in the same sentence, referring to the same person, when they are the object of a verb. You cannot say Yo elijo a ti (without te); it's ungrammatical. You will find ti on its own when it is not the verb object: Traje esto para ti. "I brought this for you."

UPDATE: After reading the thread What is the role of the "le" in the sentence "Miguel le dio a su novia un anillo."? I now understand that I am correct that in sentences I wrote the use of "le" is completely optional. But I still have doubts if it is obligatory to use redundant IO pronouns (me, te, le) with corresponding emphatic form of pronouns (a mí, a ti, a él) OR you can say both ways (example - "Te pregunto a ti" = "pregunto a ti")?

  • I've flagged this as a possible duplicate, but please tell me if the proposed answer doesn't work for you. – pablodf76 Dec 5 '19 at 1:28
  • It would be really nice to know what the movie was. Ideally a link if it's publicly available, and a timestamp. The first version sounds a bit unlikely, the second, more likely. I'd want to check whether the dialog is authentic, and also the subtitles. Also, I think the context would help consider your question. – aparente001 Dec 5 '19 at 7:31
  • @aparente001, The movie was "Revenge" ("La Venganza"), year 1990, with Kevin Costner. The dialog was on minute 30 when Tiburon Mendez was discussing political campaign with 2 guests. Regarding public availability (to help with context), I found this scene on YouTube youtube.com/watch?v=HaN2wQc2LCw, even though in Italian, but sentences are said at 0:53 and context is pretty clear. So would appreciate your comment. Regarding 2nd part of my question, wimi answered it. – Alex Dec 5 '19 at 9:11
  • @Alex - Thank you. I didn't notice (but should have!) that your question clearly stated that both the spoken dialogue and the subtitles were translations. Are you saying it was dubbed? // It looks to me as though you completely changed the question with your Update. That's a no-no. What you should do in that case is ask a separate question, or place a bounty on the question that addresses, but does not resolve, your issue. Please feel free to ask at Meta. There you can get more people sharing points of view, and more thorough guidance. – aparente001 Dec 5 '19 at 13:58
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    Both the audio and the subtitles look weird to me because "estúpido" is a stronger word than the apparent cognate, "stupid." I don't know the movie so I can't be sure, but maybe "idiota" would be better, in that it wouldn't sound like a bad translation. The subtitle version would sound more realistic in Mexico at least. "Preguntémosle" is quite a mouthful, even for native speakers. People tend to say "Vamos a preguntarle" in practice. That doesn't answer your question, but I wanted to tell you that the two quotes sound like chalk going the wrong way on a blackboard -- especially the first. – aparente001 Dec 8 '19 at 7:01

As pointed out in the comments, this other question also tackles this issue. There seem to be different opinions about whether redundant le is required there (partly due to different usage in different areas), but Javi's comment to this answer provides this link to an "official" source (RAE/DPD), which answers your question as follows:

First question: is redundant le optional when there is also a noun acting as indirect object?

See Section 5.2 of the source. The redundant use of le is mandatory in the following cases:

  • when the noun that acts as indirect object appears before the verb:

    Al estúpido le hemos preguntado cinco veces

  • when the indirect object indicates who experiments or feels the action, instead of who the action is addressed to, such as when the verb is gustar, encantar, molestar:

    Le molestó a ese estúpido que le preguntáramos tantas veces

The use of le in sentences where a noun acts as the indirect object is optional in all other cases, i.e., when the noun appears after the verb and indicates an addressee of the action:

Preguntémos(le) al estúpido

(Le) he regalado un libro a mi hermano

However, though optional, in spoken speech the redundant le is almost always included.

Second question: is redundant le optional when there is also a stressed pronoun (a mí, a ti, a él, a ella...) acting as indirect object?

See Section 5.1 of the source. The unstressed pronouns (pronombres átonos) me, te, le can go alone in a sentence:

Le he preguntado qué piensa

or together with the stressed pronouns (pronombres tónicos) a mí, a ti, a él/ella:

Le he preguntado a él qué piensa

But the stressed pronouns a mí, a ti, a él/ella cannot go alone in a sentence:

He preguntado a él qué piensa

The only apparent exception are verbs that express movement:

Se acercó a él

where stressed pronouns can go alone. There is some discussion whether this actually is an indirect object, as it can be replaced by le if it names a person (se le acercó), but it cannot be replaced by le if it names an object (se acercó al coche).


The redundant le is only optional if a noun acts as indirect object and that noun is placed after the verb: otherwise, it is mandatory. However, in spoken speech, the redundant le is almost always used.

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    Do you want to answer OP's first question, about the case where there's a name or a noun, not an emphatic pronoun? E.g. "Vamos a preguntarle al idiota aquel." – aparente001 Dec 8 '19 at 7:04
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    @aparente001 see updated answer. This is a more complicated topic than I thought! – wimi Dec 8 '19 at 14:44
  • @wimi, thank you. I now got this clear. Source from RAE was also very helpful. – Alex Dec 9 '19 at 9:05

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