In my Duolingo app, the mentioned translation isn't preferred, instead "No habian invitado a Ana a cenar, pero vino igual" is the prevalent one.

I want to know whether "le" is omitted because it is incorrect or because it is redundant, given "a Ana" already clarifies the person being referred to.

  • Note that usually subject pronouns are dropped unless there is ambiguity which is what Duolingo has done.
    – mdewey
    May 12, 2021 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


The sentence

Ellos no le habían invitado a Ana a cenar pero ella vino igual

is grammatically incorrect, because "a Ana" is a direct object, so it can be replaced/referred to by the pronoun "la", but not by the pronoun "le". This kind of mistake is called "leísmo". See here for the rules on "lo", "la", and "le".

Indirect objects can be redundantly referred to by both a noun and the pronoun "le/les", so the sentence

  • Ellos no le preguntaron a Ana si quería venir

is correct. However, in most of the Spanish-speaking world, direct objects cannot be redundantly referred to by "lo/la/los/las" if the other instance is a noun that appears after the verb (see paragraph 5.2b here). Therefore, the following two sentences are correct:

  • Ellos habian invitado a Ana a cenar, pero vino igual

  • Ellos no la habian invitado a cenar, pero vino igual

but the following sentence is incorrect in most regions:

  • Ellos la habian invitado a Ana a cenar, pero vino igual.

As also mentioned in paragraph 5.2 of the linked DPD article, this last sentence is correct in a few Spanish-speaking regions, particularly the countries around Río de la Plata (Argentina, Uruguay).

  • 1
    I'd clarify that the last sentence is incorrect in most but not all of the Spanish-speaking world, In my country, the last sentence is perfect: "La duplicación del complemento directo en otros casos (Lo vi a Juan; La saludé a María) es ajena a la norma culta de gran parte del ámbito hispánico, pero es normal en algunas regiones americanas, especialmente en los países del Río de la Plata: «Al pasar la madre cerca del baño la vio a Mariana tomando comprimidos» (Rausch/Bay Anorexia [Arg. 1990])."
    – Gustavson
    May 11, 2021 at 11:42
  • 1
    @Gustavson done. I clearly should have read the complete paragraph before writing the answer ;)
    – wimi
    May 11, 2021 at 13:56
  • Interesting that you dropped the ellos part way through without comment. Is it worth pointing out why to the OP although to be fair that was not their specific question?
    – mdewey
    May 11, 2021 at 15:29
  • @mdewey I guess I dropped it instinctively because that is how I am used to speaking... I just added it back, to avoid adding yet another topic to the answer.
    – wimi
    May 11, 2021 at 17:36

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