There are many types of pronouns in Italian, today we’re going to look at direct and indirect pronouns and how you can combine them.

Let’s start with direct object pronouns. These substitute the name of a person or an object, answering the questions: Who? Or what? Here are some sentences:

 

Mi ami? Sì che ti amo! – Do you love me? Of course I love you!

Compri il pane? No, non lo compro – Are you buying the bread? No I’m not buying it

Mangi la pasta? Sì la mangio – Are you eating the pasta? Yes, I’m eating it

Incontri gli amici stasera? No, non li incontro – Are you meeting your friends this evening? No, I’m not meeting them

Hai le biciclette? No, le ho dimenticate – Have you got the bicycles? No, I forgot them

 

Here is a list of the direct object pronouns:

Mi (me)

Ti (you)

Lo (him/it)

La (her/it)

Ci (us)

Vi (you pl)

Li (them)

Le (them)

 

Moving onto indirect object pronouns, these are used to mean ‘to or for someone’, for example:

 

Mi spieghi il problema? – Can you explain the problem to me

Tuo padre ti vuole parlare – Your father wants to speak to you

Cosa gli dici? – What are you saying to him?

Ci danno degli orecchini – They give us some earrings

Vi mando un pacco – I send a parcel to you

Gli portiamo la torta – We’ll bring the cake to them

 

The list is as follows:

Mi (to me)

Ti (to you)

Gli (to him)

Le (to her)

Ci (to us)

Vi (to you pl)

Gli (to them)

 

Sometimes we’ll want to join these pronouns together to make sentences like:

 

Dov’è il libro? Me lo dai? – Where is the book? Can you give it to me?

Dove sono i libri? Me li dai? – Where are the books? Can you give them to me?

 

Here is how you combine these pronouns:

 

Mi

Me lo

Me la 

Me li

Me le

 

Ti

Te lo

Te la 

Te li

Te le

 

Ci

Ce lo

Ce la

Ce li

Ce le

 

Vi

Ve lo

Ve la

Ve li

Ve le

 

For the third person singular and plural, both masculine and feminine you can just use the ‘gli’ form, note here that the combined pronoun is written as just one word:

 

Gli

Glielo

Gliela

Glieli

Gliele

 

Here are some more examples of these combined pronouns in sentences:

 

Te lo dico – I tell you it

Ve la preparo io – I’ll prepare it for you

Ce lo regalano – They give it to us as a present

Ce la portano domani – They’ll bring it to us tomorrow

Glielo dai? – Can you give it to him? 

Glieli faccio vedere – I show them to them

 

These combinations can be tricky, but it’s worth having a go!