Clitic Pronouns – Third Person Singular and Plural

Clitic Pronouns – Third Person Singular and Plural

In this lesson we’ll explore 3rd-person clitic pronouns. Both the singular and plural forms work in the exact same way. We’ll look at the direct pronouns first, followed by the indirect pronouns.

3rd Person Direct Object Clitic Pronouns

The following clitic pronouns stand in for him, her, them, or it as the direct object. We have the default form (o/a/os/as), plus two variants: lo/la/los/las (used after a consonant) and no/na/nos/nas (used after a nasal sound).

O/A, Os/As

Third person direct pronouns are replaced by o/a (standing for “him” and “her”, respectively) in singular form and os/as (“them” masculine and feminine) in plural form.
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.

Lo/La, Los/Las

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. In all the examples below, the preceding verb would have ended with an s (conheces, amavas, afinavas), so the s will be dropped and the l will be added onto the default clitic form.
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 have tuned them ever since you were a child.

No/Na, Nos/Nas

These forms are used for verbs ending in a nasal sound – am/em/êm/ão. In this case, you keep the nasal sound and just add an N to the beginning of the default clitic form.
Examples:
Eles davam-no de graça. They gave it for free.
Apresentaram-na ontem na televisão. They introduced her yesterday on the television.
Eles idolatravam-nos, era uma loucura. They idolised them, it was insane.

3rd Person Indirect Object Clitic Pronouns

These clitic pronouns stand in for (to/for) him, (to/for) her, (to/for) them, or (to/for) it as the indirect object.

Lhe, Lhes

The two indirect pronouns for the third person singular and plural are 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.

2 Responses to Clitic Pronouns – Third Person Singular and Plural

  1. hello, i guess the translation for “eles idolatravam-nos” should have been “they idolised them” and not “they idolised us” in this case since you’re talking about inflected forms for third person direct pronouns after a verb ending in a nasal sound. Am i right? Thanks

    • Hello, Marie! You are quite right, and we’ve corrected it accordingly. It is worth pointing out that the clitic “-nos” can be used for both the first and the third person plurals, and understanding it sometimes comes down to a simple matter of context. Thank you!

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