In this lesson we’ll explore two sets of clitic pronouns: third person singular clitics, and third person plural clitics. Both sets of clitics work in the exact same way.
Third person direct pronouns are replaced by o/a (standing for “him” and “her”, respectively) for singular and os/as (two different forms of “them”). Examples:
Ela detestava-o profundamente. She hated him deeply.
Ele amava-a do fundo do coração. He loved her from the bottom of his heart.
Adoro-as, mas só se estiverem maduras. I love them, but only when they’re ripe.
The first of the inflected forms is easy: If the last sound before the clitic is a consonant, that consonant is dropped and an L is placed at the beginning of the clitic. Examples:
Conhece-lo há muito tempo? Have you known him for long?
Amava-la assim tanto? Did you love her that much?
Afinal, afinava-las desde que eras criança. After all, you tuned them ever since you were a child.
In all these examples, the preceding verb ended with an S (conheceS, amavaS, afinavaS), so the S fell away and the L was added.
The second of the inflected forms is used for verbs ending in a nasal sound – am/em/êm/ão. In this case, an N is added to the beginning of the clitic. Examples:
Eles davam-no de graça. They gave it for free.
Apresentaram-na ontem na televisão. They introduced her yesterday on the telly.
Eles idolatravam-nos, era uma loucura. They idolised them, it was insane.
Finally, the two indirect pronouns for the third person singular and plural, lhe and lhes respectively. Examples:
Eu fazia-lhe esse favor. I’d do him that favour .
Os pais gostavam muito delas e faziam-lhes todas as vontades. Their parents loved them dearly and indulged their every wish.