Prepositional object pronouns are the pronouns used after a preposition in Spanish. For example: Carlos habló con él. (Carlos spoke with him.) Does the pronoun “él” look familiar to you? Fortunately, prepositional object pronouns look almost the same as Spanish subject pronouns, except in a few forms. We will cover all the forms in this post!
Table of Contents
What is a preposition and what can follow them?
Prepositions are words like para (for), a (to), en (in), de (for) and they are used to indicate location, movement, time, place, etc.
Now, imagine you hear someone say, “I want a cup of coffee without” or “She left this morning with.” Would you get the complete meaning of those sentences? No, you need a word after the preposition for it to make sense. Similarly to what happens in English, prepositions in Spanish need an object (which can be an infinitive verb, a noun, or a pronoun) to be complete.
- preposition + infinitive
No quiero nada de comer. I don’t want anything to eat.
- preposition + noun
Quiero un café sin azúcar. I want a coffee without sugar.
- preposition + pronoun
Juanita salió esta mañana sin nosotros. Juanita left this morning without us.
Notice that in English you can sometimes place prepositions at the end of a sentence without a complement (word, phrase, or clause):
¿Who were you talking to?
This is the movie I told you about.
In Spanish, leaving a preposition without a complement is incorrect. Prepositions always need to be followed by a complement:
¿Con quién hablabas?
Esta es la película de la que te hablé.
For more on how to use prepositions with Spanish interrogatives, click the link!
Prepositional object pronouns in Spanish
Usually, object pronouns for prepositions in Spanish are the same as subject pronouns, but they change for the first person singular (yo, “I”) and second person singular (tú, “you”). For these two pronouns, we need to use mí (me) and ti (you) respectively:
Subject pronoun yo → prepositional object mí
¿Este regalo es para mí? Is this present for me?
Subject pronoun tú → prepositional object ti
No puedo vivir sin ti. I can’t live without you.
For all other cases, you can use the same forms of the Spanish subject pronouns:
No puedo vivir sin ellos. I can’t live without them.
¿Este regalo es para ella? Is this present for her?
Estoy hablando de vos. I’m talking about you.
Here’s a summary with all the forms:
|English subject → object pronouns||Spanish Subject pronoun||Spanish prepositional object pronoun|
|I → me||yo||mí|
|you → you (informal)|
|you → you (formal)||usted||usted|
|he → him||él||él|
|she → her||ella||ella|
|we → us||nosotros, nosotras||nosotros, nosotras|
|you → you (all)||**vosotros, vosotras||vosotros, vosotras|
|you → you (all)||ustedes||ustedes|
|they → them||ellos/ellas||ellos/ellas|
*vos is the equivalent of pronoun tú in many parts of Latin America
**vosotros/vosotras are only used in Spain
When the subject of the sentence and the complement of the preposition refer to the same person, use the pronoun “sí” (itself, oneself).
Juan escribe su blog para sí, no le interesa tener otros lectores.
Juan writes his blog for himself; he’s not interested in having other readers.
It is common to add the word “mismo” after sí to reinforce the reflexivity. In this case, mismo has to agree in gender and number with the subject.
Las niñas lo hicieron por sí mismas.
The girls did it by themselves.
The forms above are applicable to most prepositions in Spanish, such as para (to), sin (without), hacia (towards), hasta (until), contra (against), a (to), ante (in front of), por (for), de (from), desde (from), or en (in).
The word hasta can take two functions: as an adverb meaning “even” or as a preposition meaning “until, up to” or “as far as.” When used as a preposition, it follows the rule above, but when used as an adverb it is followed by the same forms as the subject pronouns including yo and tú.
The dog ran up to me.
Hasta yo supe la respuesta correcta
Even I knew the correct answer.
There are a few exceptions, such as with preposition con (with) and según (according to). Let’s find out more!
The forms with preposition “con” are different for pronouns yo and tú, they are: conmigo (with me) and contigo (with you).
El director quiso hablar conmigo pero no contigo.
The principal wanted to speak with me but not with you.
There are two forms used with the singular pronouns él, ella, usted and the plural pronouns ellos, ellas, and ustedes. When the subject and the object of the preposition are different, we use con + the same form as the subject pronoun: con él (with him), con ella (with her,) and con usted (with you-formal), etc. But when the subject and the object of the preposition are the same (i.e. reflexive) we use the form consigo for all six pronouns.
Queremos hablar con él.
We want to speak with him.
El señor Sánchez trajo consigo los documentos.
Mr. Sanchez brought the documents with him.
Mi perro se quiere ir con ustedes.
My dog wants to leave with you (all).
Ustedes se llevarán consigo una importante lección.
You will take with yourselves an important lesson.
Prepositions that take the same forms as subject pronouns
There are a few prepositions that do not take mí and ti and instead use the same forms as the subject pronouns. These prepositions are:
- entre (between)
Te voy a decir algo entre tú y yo.
I’m going to tell you something between you and me.
- excepto (except)
Everyone went except me..
- según (according to)
Según tú, este es el mejor puesto de tacos.
According to youthis is the best taco stand.
To sum up
The prepositional object pronouns are the personal pronouns used after prepositions in Spanish. They have almost identical forms to the Spanish subject pronouns, which make them easy to remember. So, next time you want to use a preposition joined by a pronoun, don’t forget to use the right forms for yo and tú! Ready to put your new skills to the test? Here’s an exercise for you!
For a summary of the prepositional object pronouns, check out this table!