GLIELO? GLIENE? TE LO? HOW TO USE THE DOUBLE OBJECT PRONOUNS IN ITALIAN
That’s a fun and somehow tricky topic that that many avoid – and you shouldn’t, because Italians use the double object pronouns (in Italian pronomi doppi or combinati) virtually all the time in our interactions?
The pronomi doppi are so common because they help us to make our speech more concise. The double object pronouns are vastly used in conversation.
The Italian double object pronoun in use
- Hai detto a Luca quella cosa? – Have you told Luca that thing?
- Gliel’ hai detto? – Have you told it him? (lit.)*
As you can see, the second sentence is way shorter and more natural than the first one. Of course, the double object pronouns are used when you know what you are talking about. As a rule, in Italian, the pronouns are used to replace something mentioned previously or that you can deduce from the context.
Other examples in use of the double object pronouns in Italian
- Ti porto la bicicletta stasera – I will bring you the bike tonight
- Te la porto stasera – I’ll bring it (the bike) to you tonight
- Mi hai mandato la mail? – Have you sent me the email?
- Me l’hai mandata? – Have you sent it to me?
- Gli hai comporato l’acqua? -Have you bought him the water?
- Gliel’hai comprata? – Have you bought (the water) it for him
- Mi dai il tuo numero di telefono? – Can you give me your number?
- Me lo dai? – Can you give it to me?
- Ci presti la tua macchina? – Can you lend us your car?
- Ce la presti? – Can you lend it to us?
6 things you should know about the double object pronouns
- The double object pronouns are a combination of a direct and indirect object pronouns and that is a shortcut to express yourself more concisely when speaking Italian.
- The indirect object pronouns mi, ti, gli, ci, and vi change to me, te, glie, ce, and ve when they are combined with the direct object pronouns, as in the above chart.
- Glielo and gliela becomes gliel’ if they precede a vowel or “h” (gliel’ho detto – I told it to him)
- In the negative form, the non comes right before the verb (non te lo dico – I am not telling you it)
- The double object pronouns are written as two words, except for glielo, gliela, glieli, gliele and and all the pronoun combinations when they are attached to the infinitive (e.g in the imperative form)
- When the pronomi combinati are used with the passato prossimo, the past participle must agree with the direct object pronoun incorporated in the double object pronouns (te l’ho scritta, glieli ho mandati..)
The double object pronouns with the passato prossimo
- Me l’hai mandata? – “L'” can be una lettera, una mail, etc…
- Me le hai mandate? – “Le” can be delle lettere, delle mail, etc..
- Me li hai mandati? – “Li” can be dei biglietti, dei pacchi, etc..
THE PRONOUN “GLIENE”
The double object pronouns incorporate also the NE. If you are familiar with the intermediate Italian grammar, you know that NE means some of it/some of them and tend to be used as answers to questions asking Quanti/How many?
- Quanti pacchi gli hai dato? – How many packages did you give him?
- Gliene ho dati 3 – I gave him 3 (of them)
- Quanti biglietti mi dai? – How many tickets are you giving to me?
- Quanti me ne dai? – How many of them are you giving (me)?
- Quante fatture mi mandi? – How many invoices are you sending me
- Quante me ne mandi? – How many of them are you sending (me)?
The double object pronouns and the imperative mood
The double object pronouns are used, especially when giving a command in a concise way.
- Dammelo! – Give me (it)
- Dimmelo! – Tell me (it)
- Mandaglielo! – Send him (it)
- Non dirglielo! – Don’t tell him (it)
All the mentioned forms appear in the imperative mood, which is used to give a command in Italian. As you may notice, the imperative has the pronouns attached at the end of the verb. This is a particular feature of the imperative in Italian.
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Useful drills to practice your double object pronouns