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Spanish 101A

Spanish 101B

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As the name implies, Prepositional Pronouns are pronouns which function as the Objects of Prepositions.
Prepositions are words like: with, for, from, without, to, between, etc.

The pronouns represent a person but, like Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns, they provide you with an alternative to saying a person's name over and over.

In Spanish, pronouns are used also for emphasis when you want to clarify or stress WHO is feeling or thinking or doing something in particular.

Prepositional Pronouns

(*with Directional a)

*a mí a nosotros
a ti a vosotros
a él, a ella, a usted a ellos, a ellas, a ustedes
  • The Prepositional Pronouns look exactly like the Subject Pronouns except for the Yo and forms. It is how they are used that will tell you whether they are Prepositional or Subject Pronouns.
  • Also notice that requires an accent. That is because mi without an accent is a different word. Mi without an accent is a possessive - meaning "my". Ti doesn't need an accent because the possessive form is tu.
  • *The Prepositional Pronouns require the use of the Directional a. For this reason I included the a in the chart with the pronouns. You will not use the Prepositional Pronouns without it.

In English, we use tone to convey meaning:

I LOVE you vs. I love YOU vs. "I" love you.

All three of those statements imply something different.

Since Spanish doesn't have the extreme changes in tone in the way that English does, it adds more words.

  • For example, Yo te amo.

Since the Yo is redundant [the conjugation of Amar "to love" in the first person already tells you that Yo (I) am speaking] Yo gives emphasis to the fact that "I" am the one loving you (as opposed to someone else.)
Adding the word Yo is like adding stress and tone to the English word "I" in the earlier statement: "I" love you.

To emphasize that "I love YOU" in Spanish, we add a Prepositional Pronoun:

  • Te amo a ti.

Because Te already tells us that it is YOU whom I love, the a ti is redundant. It shows that I am emphasizing that it is YOU whom I love as opposed to someone (anyone) else.

When we use GUSTAR, ENCANTAR, INTERESAR and similar verbs, Prepositional Pronouns again help us add emphasis.

  • You may tell me you like swimming and Ted tells me that he likes to play tennis. If you both ask me what I like to do, then I would respond: "Well, I like to horseback ride." As I spoke, I would emphasize the word "I".
  • In Spanish, to achieve the same emphasis, we say: A mí me gusta montar a caballo. This is emphasizing that I prefer a different sport than those you and Ted enjoy. ¿Qué deporte te gusta a ti?

Redundancy, Indirect Object pronouns and "tags"

We also use "tags" with indirect object pronouns for clarity.

For example, I say, "I showed the photos to them."

It is unclear who "they" are unless we've been having a discussion in which I had previously indicated about whom I was talking. But if you had just entered the conversation, you may ask, "Who did you show them to?" I may reply, "To Melanie and Antonio."

In Spanish, this works pretty much the same way:

  • "Les mostré las fotos."
  • "¿A quiénes?"
  • "A Melanie y a Antonio."

However, English and Spanish differ when identifying the indirect object specifically:

  • In English I would say: "I showed the photos to Melanie and Antonio." I do not use "them" since I named names!

  • In Spanish I would say: "Les mostré las fotos a Melanie y a Antonio."

Notice I still have to use the pronoun "les" even though I have added the tag "a Melanie y a Antonio." The "a Melanie y a Antonio" is optional; "les" is not.