Indirect pronouns

Pronouns often cause problems when learning Italian. In this article, we will learn Italian indirect pronouns, what the indirect object is, and some common verbs that have the indirect object.

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THE INDIRECT OBJECT

The indirect object (it. oggetto indiretto) is marked by the preposition A and answers the question a chi? (to whom?). For example, in the sentence Fiona regala un libro a Emma, a Emma is the indirect object:

Fiona regala un libro a Emma.
A chi regala Fiona un libro? – A Emma.

The indirect object is preceded by the preposition A, so it indirectly follows the verb. That is why it is called indirect object.

Fionaregalaun libroa Emma
SOGGETTOVERBOOGGETTO DIRETTO – COSA?OGGETTO INDIRETTO – A CHI?

The indirect object can be expressed by a noun (e.g. a Emma, alla sua amica) or a pronoun, which is therefore called an indirect object pronoun or simply an indirect pronoun (e.g. le). Pronouns are short words that usually replace a noun to avoid repetition. In the following example, a Emma is replaced by the indirect object pronoun le. The pronoun is placed before the verb.

Fiona regala un libro a Emma. Fiona gives Emma a book.
Fiona le regala un libro.Fiona gives her a book.

ITALIAN INDIRECT PRONOUNS

Pronomi indiretti

SOGGETTOPRONOMI INDIRETTI
iomia meto me
tutia te to you
lui
lei
glia lui
lea lei
to him
to her, to you (formal)
noicia noito us
voivia voito you (all)
loroglia loroto them (m | f)
italianobello pronomi indiretti atoni tonici 1 - Indirect pronouns

MI or A ME?

In normal sentences, the pronouns mi, ti, gli, etc. are always used (they are called unstressed pronouns, in Italian pronomi atoni). The pronouns a me, a te, a lui, etc. (which are stressed pronouns, called pronomi tonici in Italian) are used in the following cases:

  • For juxtapositions and highlighting the person: A lei piace la pizza margherita, a lui la quattro formaggi.
  • For questions, if the verb is missing: Mi sembra una buona idea, e a te?
  • After anche and neanche: Non mi piacciono i film western. – Neanche a me.

VERBS WITH THE INDIRECT OBJECT

Some verbs in Italian are followed by the indirect object, that is, you can ask a chi? to whom? Here is a small list of common verbs with indirect object:

WITH A NOUNWITH THE PRONOUN
PIACEREto likeA Fiona piace la pizzaLe piace la pizza
MANCAREto missA Stefan manca l’ItaliaGli manca l’Italia
SEMBRAREto seemA mia mamma sembra una buona ideaLe sembra una buona idea
DAREto giveDo un fiore a mia nonnaLe do un fiore
REGALAREto give as a giftRegalo un libro ai miei nonniGli regalo un libro
FARE UN REGALOto make a giftFaccio un regalo ai miei nonniGli faccio un regalo
DIREto sayDico alla mia amica che ci vediamo domani.Le dico che ci vediamo domani.
CHIEDERE/DOMANDAREto askChiedo/Domando a Fiona se ha un gattoLe chiedo/domando se ha un gatto
RISPONDEREto answerRispondo a FionaLe rispondo
TELEFONAREto callTelefono ai miei nonniGli telefono
FARE MALEto hurtAl mio amico fa male la testaGli fa male la testa
VOLERE BENE to love (as a friend)Voglio bene a mio fratelloGli voglio bene
SPEDIREto sendSpedisco una cartolina a mia mammaLe spedisco una cartolina

Esempi

Some examples to better learn the Italian indirect pronouns.

Mi piace essere in vacanza, ma mi manca la mia casa.I love being on vacation, but I miss my home.
Ti piace il mare o preferisci la montagna?Do you like the sea or do you prefer the mountains?
La receptionist parla con Fiona, poi le la chiave della camera.The receptionist talks to Fiona, then gives her the room key.
Lucia non vuole andare nel bosco, non le sembra una buona idea.Lucia doesn’t want to go into the woods, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to her.
I bambini stanno volentieri dai nonni. Gli vogliono tanto bene!Children enjoy staying with their grandparents. They love them so much!
Vi chiedo un favore.I’m asking you for a favor.

Esercizio

Write the Italian indirect pronouns.

Impara di più!

GRAMMATICA: The DIRECT pronouns
VOCABOLARIO: 150 useful words (A1)
STORIE: Read a story in Italian

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