"It" in Spanish: lo, la, ello...

"It" in Spanish: lo, la, ello...

It as a subject

Subject pronouns are totally optional in Spanish, we usually don't use them.
Subject is the thing/person that is or does something (so you have "it's" or it+verb).

They're very clever: Ellos son muy listos or son muy listos

We don't have a word for "it" when it's a subject, so we can never add it:

Ex: It's nice! - ¡Es bonito!

Direct object pronoun

A direct object pronoun refers to a direct object: person or object in the sentence, affected by the verb.
Usually you can find it if you ask the verb "what?":

I buy bread.
What do I buy? Bread.
Bread is the direct object.

If I want to replace "bread", I'd say "it", right? Well, for that kind of "it" we do have a word: lo (masculine) and la (feminine).

I buy bread - Compro pan
I buy it - Lo compro

I want a jacket - Quiero una chaqueta
I want it - La quiero

¿Did you see my dad? - ¿Viste a mi padre?
Yes, I saw him- Sí, lo vi.

After preposition

We never finish a sentence with a preposition, so if after one we have an "it", we do have a word for it: ello. This is the most common location for it.

Having said that, this happens wherever the location is, not only at the end.

This would be a "concept" or "action" we don't know the gender and that we've mentioned before.

They talk about it - Hablan sobre ello
I'm sure of it - Estoy seguro de ello
She complained about it - Ella se quejó de ello

Puedes aprender muchas cosas pero para ello, tienes que leer mucho - You can learn many things but to do it/that, you have to read a lot.


Fill in the gaps with: lo, la, ello or nothing!

  • A pesar de _____ no estoy convencida - Despite it/that, I'm not convinced.

  • ¿Tienes el cuadro?¿__ puedes traer? - Do you have the painting? Can you bring it?

  • _____ es una casa preciosa, ____ veremos mañana - It's a gorgeous house, we'll see it tomorrow.

  • Quieres que aprenda esta lista pero necesito tiempo para ____ - You want me to learn this list but I need time for it/that.

  • He hablado mucho sobre este cambio pero me gustaría insistir en ____ - I have talked a lot about this change but I'd like to insist on it.