A pronoun, when it comes down to it, is simply a word used instead of a noun or noun phrase as long as the listener understands what it is replacing.
- Person 1: I want to see the new movie starring Tom Cruise.
- Person 2: I already saw it.
Instead of unnecessarily repeating the entire noun phrase "the new movie starring Richard Gere," Person 2 has simply replaced the whole phrase with the pronoun "it."
There are many types of pronouns, but here you'll find a crash course on the basics: subject pronouns, direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns.
|he, she||él, ella|
|you (plural)||vosotros, vosotras|
In English, we use subject pronouns to avoid confusion, since almost all forms of most verbs are the same (I go, you go, we go, they go, etc.) In Spanish, however, each conjugated verb form is unique and therefore reveals the subject. This means that, unless you're really trying to emphasize or clarify who you're talking about, the subject pronoun is usually pretty unnecessary and therefore taken out altogether. For example:
|I go to the store.||Yovoy a la tienda.||Voy a la tienda|
You go to the store.
|Túvas a la tienda.||Vas a la tienda.|
|We go to the store.||Nosotrosvamos a la tienda.||Vamos a la tienda.|
As you can see in the second column, the Spanish verb "ir" ("to go") conjugates differently depending on the subject. Therefore, it is not necessary to include the subject pronoun, which we have taken out in the third column.
Direct Object Pronouns
Direct object pronouns are used to replace the proper noun. For example:
|Original Sentence||With Direct Object Pronoun|
|Sara washes the dishes.||Sara washes them.|
|Sara lava los platos .||Sara los lava.|
In this sentence, just as "the dishes" has been replaced by "them" in the English version, "los platos" in the Spanish version has been replaced by the direct object pronoun "los."
Indirect Object Pronouns
|to him, to her, to it||le|
|to you (plural)||os|
An indirect object is the person or thing for whom an action is being performed or has been performed. For example:
Carlos gives the present to him.
Carlos da el regalo a él .
Carlos le da el regalo.
In this sentence "to him" ("a él") has been replaced by the indirect object pronoun "le".