Indirect object pronouns: Italian grammar lesson 91


Dive into the world of Italian with our guide on Indirect Object Pronouns! Master the art of saying ‘to him’, ‘to her’, and more in Italian, and learn the subtle dance of pronoun placement that’ll make your Italian sound native!

  • Know Your Pronouns: Italian has two sets of object pronouns, direct and indirect. Unlike English, which uses one set, Italian requires you to choose wisely based on the action’s recipient. 🤔
  • Who’s Doing What to Whom: Indirect object pronouns answer the big question: “To whom?” If you’re doing something for someone, in Italian, you’ve got to get this right. 🎁
  • Placement Matters: In Italian, the indirect object pronoun usually sneaks in before the verb, playing hide-and-seek with the subject. Remember this, and you’ll avoid sounding like a language rookie! 🕵️‍♂️
  • Consistency is Key: Notice that for some pronouns like mi and ti, direct and indirect forms are the same. It’s a small mercy from the language gods, so be thankful! 🙏
  • Practice with Examples: Get your hands dirty with sample sentences. The more you use them, the more natural it’ll feel. It’s like learning to ride a bike, but with words. 🚴‍♀️
  • Ask the Right Questions: When in doubt, ask yourself who is benefiting from the action. That’s your cue for which indirect pronoun to use. It’s like a little Italian whisper in your ear. 🧏‍♂️

My thoughts

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns: Explained

Pronouns are words that refer to and substitute nouns, usually expressed in a previous sentence or implied in the context.

Indirect object pronouns (pronomi complemento indiretto) are pronouns that substitute for nouns that serve as the indirect object of the sentence verb, indicating to whom or to what (or for whom or for what, with whom or with what, etc.) an action was done.

An indirect pronoun is used to refer to the person or thing an action is intended to benefit or harm.

Indirect object pronouns are used in English as well. For example:

She gave him the book

In this sentence, “him” is an indirect object pronoun that answers the question, “whom was the book given to?”.

The only difference between English and Italian is that English has only one set of object pronouns, while Italian has two different kinds: direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns.

For a comparison between Italian and English pronouns, please see the table below:





Object Pronoun


Direct Object Pronoun


Indirect Object Pronoun
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I io me mi mi
you tu you ti ti
he/ she/ it lui / lei him/ her/ it lo / la gli / le
we noi us ci ci
you voi you vi vi
they loro them li gli

Indirect Object Pronoun Placement

The most important rule to keep in mind about Italian object pronouns is that they usually appear before the verb, while in English, they follow the verb. The word order in Italian is:

Subject (if expressed) + indirect object pronoun + verb.

Cosa hai regalato a Marta per il suo compleanno?

(What did you gift Marta for her birthday?)

(Io) Le ho regalato un libro.

(I gifted her a book.)

(Io) le ho regalato un libro
Subject indirect object pronoun verb

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns: Sample Sentences

See the following examples:

Le ho telefonato diverse volte, ma non mi ha risposto.

I called her several time, but she didn’t pick up.

Gli voglio fare una sorpresa!

I want to surprise him.

Perché non mi vuoi parlare?

Why don’t you want to talk to me?

Ti ho scritto una lettera. L’hai ricevuta?

I wrote a letter to you. Did you receive it?

Vi chiediamo scusa.

We ask for your forgiveness.

Ci puoi portare qualcosa da mangiare?

Can you bring us something to eat?

What are direct and indirect object pronouns in Italian?

Italian has two types of pronouns: direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Direct pronouns answer "what?" or "who?" while indirect pronouns answer "to whom" or "for whom".

How do you identify an indirect object pronoun?

You can find an indirect object by asking yourself “who or what is receiving the direct object?”

What are the indirect object pronouns in Italian?

The indirect object pronouns in Italian are: Mi - a me (to me), Ti - a te (to you), Gli - a lui (to him), Le - a lei (to her), Ci - a noi (to us), Vi - a voi (to you guys/you all), Gli - a loro (to them).

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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