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Lo as a Direct Object Pronoun

Did you hear the news about the US becoming the second biggest Spanish-speaking country? Guess that means we are on the right track, right? Let's keep learning and polishing our Spanish then. As promised, here is a lesson on the use of lo as a direct pronoun. For your reference, our previous lesson on lo used as a neuter article is already up on our site.


Besides being a neuter article, lo is the Spanish neuter direct object pronoun. It's used to replace an idea, situation, or concept (something non-specific or with no gender) that is the direct object of a transitive verb in any given sentence. For most direct objects, Spanish uses either the masculine pronoun (which is also lo, by the way) or the feminine pronoun (la), and their plural forms los, las:

Masculine, singular (el plátano)
Lulú come un plátano  Lulú lo come Lulú eats a banana  Lulu eats it
Masculine, plural (los plátanos)
Lulú come plátanos  Lulú los come Lulú eats bananas  Lulu eats them
Feminine, singular (la tortilla)
Lulú hace una tortilla → Lulú la hace Lulú makes a tortilla  Lulu makes it
Feminine, plural (las tortillas)
Lulú hace tortillas → Lulú las hace Lulú makes tortillas  Lulu makes them

And this is how you use the neuter direct object pronoun lo:
Lucero dice [que] hoy lloverá  Lucero lo dice
Lucero says today will rain  Lucero says it

Note how in the previous examples lo (usually translated to "it," just as the singular masculine and feminine pronouns) doesn't refer to an object, but to a statement that has been made (about a situation: it will rain). This is by far the most common use of lo as a neuter direct pronoun in Spanish. In the following examples, try to identify the neuter direct object that lo is replacing:


Se murió. Cuando se lo dije, se derritió.

She died. When I told it to her, she melted.

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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Finally, we have said that the neuter pronoun lo is translated as "it," but this is not always the case. Being lo such a useful pronoun (it can be used to substitute anything previously said in a conversation), it has find its way into many common phrases that have a specific way of being expressed in English, for example:

Tú no mataste a Victoria Sirenio.

You didn't kill Victoria Sirenio.

-Eso lo dice usted.

-That's what you say.

Captions 18-19, Yago - 7 Encuentros

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Sometimes the use of lo is equivalent to the use of "that" as a pronoun:

Mira, Roberto, yo te quise como un hijo.

Look, Roberto, I loved you like a son.

Sí, lo sé. -Tú lo sabes. -Sí.

Yes, I know that. -You know that. -Yes.

Captions 9-10, Yago - 7 Encuentros

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Ah, disculpa, no quería incomodarte.

Oh, sorry, I didn't want to make you uncomfortable.

-No, no lo hiciste.

-No, you didn't do that.

Caption 66, Yago - 7 Encuentros

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And sometimes translating lo is not even necessary: 

¿Qué vas a hacer?

What are you going to do?

Porque yo no lo

Because I don't know

Captions 19-20, Jarabe de Palo - Y ahora qué hacemos

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Si tú vienes con mentiras, eso sí que no lo aguanto yo

If you come with lies, that's something I can't stand

Caption 19, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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Caption 66, 10, 9, 19, 18

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