In this lesson we’ll explore 3rd-person clitic object pronouns in Portuguese. We saved these for last because they are a little bit more complicated. Unlike the others we’ve practiced so far in the Clitic Pronouns unit, there are different forms depending on whether it’s a direct or indirect object pronoun. (Visit the introduction learning note if you want to review the chart of all the clitic object pronouns.)
Let’s look at the direct pronouns first, followed by the indirect pronouns. (Both the singular and plural forms work in the exact same way.)
3rd Person Direct Object Clitic Pronouns
The following clitic pronouns stand in for him, her, it, or them as the direct object. We have the default forms: 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)
Third person direct pronouns are replaced by o or a (corresponding to him or her, respectively) in singular form and os or as (standing for them, masculine and feminine) in plural form.
Ela detestava-o profundamente. Play slow audio Play normal audio She hated him deeply.
Ele amava-a do fundo do coração. Play slow audio Play normal audio He loved her from the bottom of his heart.
Adoro-as, mas só se estiverem maduras. Play slow audio Play normal audio I love them, but only if they’re ripe.
If the last sound before the direct object clitic pronoun 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 was dropped and the l was added onto the default clitic form.
Conhece-lo há muito tempo? Play slow audio Play normal audio Have you known him for long?
Amava-la assim tanto? Play slow audio Play normal audio Did you(sing.,inf.) love her that much?
Afinal, afinava-las desde que eras criança. Play slow audio Play normal audio After all, you(sing.,inf.) have tuned them ever since you were a child.
These forms are used for verbs ending in a nasal sound, in other words, verbs that end in –am/-em/-êm/-ão. In this case, you keep the nasal sound and just add an n to the beginning of the default direct object clitic form.
Eles davam-no de graça. Play slow audio Play normal audio They gave it for free.
Apresentaram-na ontem na televisão. Play slow audio Play normal audio They introduced her yesterday on the television.
Eles idolatravam-nos, era uma loucura. Play slow audio Play normal audio They idolised them, it was insane.
3rd Person Indirect Object Clitic Pronouns
The two indirect pronouns for the third person singular and plural are lhe and lhes, respectively. (Lhe is also the pronoun used in place of você Play slow audio Play normal audio you (formal)). Keep in mind that the rules above about dropping the -s or adding an L or N do not apply to these indirect object clitic pronouns.
The clitic pronouns lhe (singular) and lhes (plural) stand in as the indirect object in place of:
- (to/for) him
- (to/for) her
- (to/for) it
- (to/for) you (singular, formal)
- (to/for) them
Eu fazia-lhe esse favor. Play slow audio Play normal audio I'd do him that favour.
Os pais gostavam muito delas e faziam-lhes todas as vontades. Play slow audio Play normal audio Their parents loved them dearly and indulged their every wish.