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I have read several of the very helpful articles on pronouns in this forum, but I am still having trouble with the correct indirect vs direct object pronouns to use in the following sentence from my workbook: “Why don’t you (Ud.) ask him for them (ellas)?” I thought it would be “Por que no se lo pide?,” treating him as the direct object and ellas as the indirect (and changing les to se, of course). My workbook gives the opposite answer: “Por que no se las pide?” Which is correct, and why? Thank you so much!

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The direct object of "pedir" is the thing you are asking for. If him were the direct object of pedir you would be meaning "ask for him".

Start with a canonical phrase like "pida manzanas a Pedro", where "manzanas" is the direct object and "Pedro" is the indirect object.

  • Talking about apples, you can simply say "pídalas a Pedro".
  • Talking about Pedro, you can say "pídale manzanas".
  • Talking about apples and Pedro: "pídaselas".

Back to the question: ¿Por qué no pide manzanas a Pedro?

  • Talking about apples (direct object): ¿Por qué no las pide a Pedro?
  • Talking about apples (direct object) and Pedro (indirect object): ¿Por qué no se las pide?
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  • Awesome, thank you!
    – Tyler
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:10
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¿ Por qué no se lo pide ? Why don't you ask him/her for it?

Whereas: las pide is for them, a plural feminine noun.

¿ Por qué no se las pide ? Why don't you ask him/her for them?

[ where las stands for a plural feminine noun like: las manzanas].

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