Direct Object Pronouns

A direct object is the direct recipient of the action of a verb. Direct object pronouns replace direct object nouns. In Italian the forms of the direct object pronouns (i pronomi diretti) are as follows:

Persons Singular Plural
1st. person mi » me ci » us
2nd. person familiar ti » you vi » you
2nd. person polite* La » you (m. and f.) Li » You (m.)
Le » You (f.)
3rd. person lo » him, it li » them (m.)
la » her it le » them (f.)

These pronouns are used as follows:

1 They stand immediately before the verb or the auxiliary verb in the compound tenses. Examples:

  • Li ho invitati a cena  »  I have invited them to dinner
  • L'ho veduta ieri  »  I saw her yesterday
  • Ci hanno guardati e ci hanno seguiti  »  They watched us and followed us

In a negative sentence, the word non must come before the object pronoun.

  • Non la mangia  »  He doesn’t eat it
  • Perchè non li inviti?  »  Why don’t you invite them?

2 The object pronoun is attached to the end of an infinitive. Note that the final –e of the infinitive is dropped.

  • È importante mangiarla ogni giorno  »  It is important to eat it every day
  • È una buon’idea invitarli  »  It’s a good idea to invite them
  • Volevo comprarla  »  I wanted to buy it

3 The Object pronouns are attached to ecco to express here I am, here you are, here he is, and so on.

  • Dov’è la signorina? – Eccola!  »  Where is the young woman? – Here she is!
  • Hai trovato le chiavi? – Sì, eccole!  »  Have you found the keys? – Yes, here they are!

4. The pronouns lo and la are often shortened to l'.

(*) Note that second person polite form pronouns are capitalized.