6.1.1 the unstressed personal pronouns

In English there are only two types of personal pronouns. The personal pronouns as subjects and the object pronouns. Together with a preposition we use the objective pronouns.

subject: He buys a car.
object pronoun => direct object: I see him
object pronoun => indirect object: I give him an apple.
object pronoun => with a preposition: We talked about him.

Below the whole picture.

subjectobjectwith a preposition
Imeabout / to / against / with etc. me
you youabout / to / against / with etc. you
hehimabout / to / against / with etc. him
sheherabout / to / against / with etc. her
ititabout / to / against / with etc. it
weusabout / to / against / with etc. us
youyouabout / to / against / with etc. you
theythemabout / to / against / with etc. them


The system of the roman languages and most of other languages is more complicated concerning this issue. First of all in almost all languages there is distinction between a direct object and an indirect object. In order to choose the right personal pronoun it is necessary to be able to distinguish between a direct and an indirect object.

The name indirect object is actually meaningless. Only in the case that the object is added to the verb with a preposition this term makes sense, because in this case it is added "indirectly" by a preposition: I talked with him yesterday. However in the case of an indirect object, I give him the key, it is hard to see why him is more indirect than the key. Only if we change the sentence, I give the key to him, the object is "indirect".

However we can deduce a rule from that. If it is possible to add an object as well with the preposition to it is an indirect object.

We bought John a car.
wrong: We bought John for a car.
correct: We bought a car for John.

The car can't be added by a preposition, therefore it is the direct object. Only John can be added with a preposition. John is the indirect object.

The other rule is a little bit more sophisticated. If we transform a sentence in active voice to passive voice, the direct object becomes the subject of the sentence in passive voice.

We build a house for him.

The direct object, a house, become the subject of the sentence in passive voice.

A house was build by us for him.

If we have problems to figure out what is the direct object and the indirect object, we can put the sentence in passive voice.

There is a third possibility, not 100 percent sure, but in 99 percent, to figure out what is the direct object and what is the indirect object. A lot of people find it difficult to understand the difference between a direct object and an indirect object. Perhaps this explanation, that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A CORRECT GRAMMAR EXPLANATION may be helpful. If we have two objects and one is a living being, the living being is the indirect object.

We sold Misses Carter something useless.

The living being is Misses Carter, she is therefore the indirect object.


It is crucial to see that the direct object and the indirect object are different.


him is direct object
Eu não vejo-o.
I not see him.

him is indirect object
Eu dou-lheo dinheiro.
I givehim the money.

In the english sentences we have him in both cases. In the portuguese sentence o or lhe. In portuguese we have to distinguish between a direct and an indirect object.

The table below shows the whole portuguese system. (Which is the same as in any other roman language, by the way.) We show as well the second person singular tu and the você form. The first on is used in Portugal if we address someone well known, friend, relatives, good collegues etc.. The second one can be used in Brasil in any context, see chapter 5.

We add as well the verbform. Actually and from a theoretical point of view the você form can be used with the second or third form of the verb. In practice however it is used with the third form of the verb and the the second form is considered as wrong.

unstressed personal pronouns stressed personal pronouns reflexive pronoun form of the verb
subject direct object indirect object
eumememim me 1st person singular
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tu teteti te 2nd person singular
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eleolhe*ele se 3rd person singular
elaalhe*ela se
o senhorolheele se
a senhoraalheela se
vocêo / alhevocê se
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nósnosnosnós nos 1st person plural
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os senhoresoslhes*eles se 3rd person plural
as senhorasaslhes*elas se
vocêsvoslhesvocês se
eles oslheseles se
elas aslheselas se

* lhe / lhes cannot be used in relationship to things. The indirect object is substituted by a + ele / ela / eles / elas when it is a thing. (Ele aspira a gloria / He strives for fame <=> Ele aspira a ela)

Example

Subject: Eu faço muitas coisas.
I do a lot of things.
direct object: Tu não me vês.
You don't see me.
indirect object: Das-me o dinheiro.
You give me the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para mim.*
That's not good for me.
reflexive pronoun: Vejo-me no espelho.
I see myself in the mirror.

* The preposition para is just an example. It works the same way with any preposition.


subject: Tu fazes muitas coisas.
You do a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não te vejo.
I don't see you.
indirect object: Eu dou-te o dinheiro.
I give you the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para ti.
That's not good for you.
reflexive pronoun: Tu vês-te no espelho.
You see yourself in the mirror.


subject: Ele faz muitas coisas.
He does a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não vejo-o.
I don't see him.
indirect object: Eu dou-lhe o dinheiro.
I give him the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para ele.
That's not good for him.
reflexive pronoun: Ele vê-se no espelho.
He sees himself in the mirror.


subject: Ela faz muitas coisas.
She does a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não a vejo.
I don't see her.
indirect object: Eu dou-lhe o dinheiro.
I give her the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para ela.
That's not good for her.
reflexive pronoun: Ela vê-se no espelho.
She sees herself in the mirror.


subject: O senhor faz muitas coisas.
You do a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não vejo-o.
I don't see you.
indirect object: Eu dou-lhe o dinheiro.
I give you the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para o senhor.
That's not good for you.
reflexive pronoun: O senhor vê-se no espelho.
You see yourself in the mirror.


subject: A senhora faz muitas coisas.
You do a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não a vejo.
I don't see you.
indirect object: Eu dou-lhe o dinheiro.
I give you the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para a senhora.
That's not good for you.
reflexive pronoun: A senhora vê-se no espelho.
You see yourself in the mirror.


subject: Você faz muitas coisas.
You do a lot of things.
direct object: Eu não vejo-o / vejo-a.
I don't see you.
indirect object: Eu dou-lhe o dinheiro.
I give you the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para você.
That's not good for you.
reflexive pronoun: Você vê-se no espelho.
You see yourself in the mirror.


subject: Nós fazemos muitas coisas.
We do a lot of things.
direct object: Ela não nos vê.
She doesn't see us.
indirect object: Ela da-nos o dinheiro.
She gives us the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para nos.
That's not good for us.
reflexive pronoun: Nós vêmo-nos no espelho.
We see ourselves in the mirror.


subject: Vocês fazem muitas coisas.
You do a lot of things.
direct object: Ela não vos vê.
She doesn't see you.
indirect object: Ela da-lhes o dinheiro.
She gives you the money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para vocês.
That's not good for you.
reflexive pronoun: Vocês vêem-se no espelho.
You see yourself in the mirror.


subject: Eles fazem muitas coisas.
They do a lot of things.
direct object: Ela não os vê.
She doesn't see them.
indirect object: Ela da-lhes o dinheiro.
She gives them money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para eles.
That's not good for them.
reflexive pronoun: Eles vêem-se no espelho.
They see themselves in the mirror.


subject: Elas fazem muitas coisas.
They do a lot of things.
direct object: Ela não as vê.
She doesn't see them.
indirect object: Ela da-lhes o dinheiro.
She gives them money.
stressed pronoun: Isso não é bom para elas.
That's not good for them.
reflexive pronoun: Eles vêem-se no espelho.
They see themselves in the mirror.





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