Site Feedback

Resolved questions
Direct vs. Indirect Pronouns in Italian


I am uncertain about using pronouns in Italian.
I've read that the direct pronoun is used where 'to (pronoun)' would be used in English.
e.g. 'le parliamo'

However, I've come across other sentances with 'ai'/'a' etc - would the indirect be used there?
e.g. Laura prepara a Paolo il pranzo. (?)

Could you please explain to me in more detail?
Thanks for any help!

Additional Details:

* ... read that the *indirect* pronoun ...

For learning: Italian
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Dia duit, Frances!
    now your question makes sense. :-)
    Yes, usually, you use indirect pronoun when in English you use "to" to introduce pronoun...
    we speak to her => parliamo a lei (I) = le parliamo (II)
    ... but also when in English you have a double object: the first is always an indirect object...
    I give you it (I give it to you) => lo do a te (I) = te lo do (II)
    ... sometime verbs that take direct object in a language, take indirect object in another one...
    I tell you (direct) => parlo a te (indirect) (I) = ti parlo (II)
    As you can see, we have two forms for indirect personal pronoun: "forma tonica"(I) e "forma atona" (II)


    Hey Frances,

    I actually think it's the other way round of what you read (btw, where did you read it?): direct pronouns are used where there's no "to" in English, because "to" often corresponds in Italian to the preposition "a". In the sentence you wrote ("le parliamo") "le" stands as an indirect pronoun ("parliamo a lei". It would be "la" otherwise, like in "Paolo la vede" -Paolo sees her-, where you use the direct pronoun). So it makes sense that you use the indirect pronoun in a sentence with "ai/a".

    Anyway, quite a lot of time has passed after I studied this at school, so I'd wait for more comments from the Italki community! :)

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.