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Lección 20

Personal Pronouns (continuation). La, lo, le. Poder, saber, acordarse, conocer

Conchita y el padrino ciego

Don Joaquín se detiene en el umbral.
¿Cómo está usted, don Joaquín? — le dice doña Juana.
¿Qué tal le va a usted, don Joaquín? — le dice don Antonio.
¿Y ustedes? ... ¿Y ustedes? ... Caramba. La verdad es que hace tiempo que no nos vemos. Y ahora tampoco nos vemos ... Digo, yo soy el que no puede ver a ustedes.
Doña Juana se acerca a la escalera y grita:
— ¡Clara, Lola, Concha, bajad! Don Joaquín está aquí.
Se oye en la escalera un rumor de faldas, de voces, de risas ... Y de repente, como una aparición mágica, las tres se hallan en la entrada y miran serias, derechas, a don Joaquín con sus ojos azules, grises, negros.
— ¿Vosotras no conocéis a don Joaquín? — les dice don Antonio.
Las tres callan.
— Clara ¿tú no te acuerdas? ... ¿Y tú ¿Lola?
— No, no — dice don Joaquín — ella no puede acordarse. Pero yo sí me acuerdo de ella. Lola tiene los ojos azules. text translation
— Sí, don Joaquin, Lola tiene los ojos azules — afirma doña Juana.
— ¿Y Conchita? — pregunta don Joaquín — ¿está aquí?
— Aquí está, delante de usted — contesta don Antonio.
— Conchita — dice don Joaquín — yo soy tu padrino.
Sí, don Joaquín — dice Conchita — ya sé que es usted mi padrino.Hint
— Ella me pregunta muchas veces por usted — dice doña Juana.
— Yo no puedo verte, Conchita — dice don Joaquín — ¿Cómo eres? ¿Cómo es Conchita?
— Es alta y delgada — contesta doña Juana.
— ¿Cómo tiene el pelo?
— El pelo es rubio y largo.
— ¿Y los ojos? ¿De qué color tiene los ojos?
— Los ojos son entre grises y verdes.
— ¿Y la boca?
— La boca es pequeña y con los labios rojos.
— Conchita — exclama don Joaquín — eres una linda muchacha ... text translation
(AzorínLos Pueblos”)


el padrino godfather
  ciego, -a blind
  detenerse to stop
el umbral threshold
  ¡caramba! damn!, Jeez!
  hacer to make, to do
el tiempo time
  ahora now
  tampoco neither, not … either
  poder to be able to, can, may
  acercarse to go closer, to move closer, to approach
la escalera staircase, ladder
  bajar to go down, to come down
el rumor rumor; murmur; buzz
las voces voices
la risa laughter, laugh
  de repente suddenly, all of a sudden
la aparición appearance; apparition, ghost
  mágico, -a magical; magic
  hallarse to find oneself; to be
la entrada entrance, entry
  serio, -a serious
  derecho, -a straight
  conocer to know; to meet; to be familiar with
  callar to be silent, to be quiet
  acordarse to remember
  afirmar to affirm, to assert, to state
  delante de before, in front of
  saber to know, to find out; can
  delgado, -a thin, slim
el pelo hair (single and multiple)
  rubio, -a blond(e)
  entre between
  exclamar to exclaim


The meaning of words and expressions

también and tampoco



Yo voy al cine.
I’m going to the cinema.

Yo también.
Me too.


Yo no voy al cine.
I’m not going to the cinema.

Yo tampoco.
Me neither.



la vez

one time, the time, that time


las veces

many times, the times


la voz

the voice


las voces

the voices

The consonant z in the combination with the vowel e changes to the consonant c, that corresponds to the vowel z [θ].

Learn the expressions:


¿Qué tal le va a usted?

How are you doing? (How is it going for you?)


hace tiempo

a long time ago; for a while etc.


se oye

(can) be heard


las tres

all three, the three

I know
se — the reflexive pronoun used with reflexive verbs

Grammar points

1. Personal Pronouns (continuation)

¿Quién habla? — Yo.

Who is talking? — I am.

¿A quién lo dices? — A ti.

Who are you saying it to? — To you.

No puedo verte.

I can’t see you.

Te digo que no quiero este libro.

I’m telling you that I don’t want this book.

In Spanish, there are two forms of personal pronouns:

  1. The unstressed form, that is used with a verb and usually without a preposition, for example:


    Те veo.

    I see you.


    Le doy un lápiz.

    I give him a pencil.

  2. The stressed form, that is used with a preposition independently, for example:

    ¿A quién da usted este libro?

    Who are you giving this book to?

    A ti, a él, a todos.

    To you, to him, to everyone.


Personal pronouns that are used in a sentence as subjects are always stressed.

In Spanish, it is possible to use two forms of personal pronouns simultaneously, i.e. stressed and unstressed. It happens in the following cases:

  • When the meaning of one of the used pronouns is emphasized, for example:


    A ti no te lo doy.

    To you I do not give it.


    A mí no me conoce nadie.

    Nobody knows me. (‘To me’ at the beginning is not translated)

  • When a sentence is used the 3rd person singular pronoun le, for example:


    Yo le doy un libro a él.

    I give a book to him. (to him, not to her).

Since the unstressed personal pronoun le can mean persons and objects of both genders, it is necessary to use an additional form of personal pronouns to clarify the meaning.

Table of personal pronouns

yo I you (sing.)
yo I you
de mí of me de ti of you
me (a mí) to me te (a ti) to you
me (a mí) (sees) me te (a ti) (sees) you
conmigo with me contigo with you
en mí in me en ti in you
él he ella she
él he ella she
de él of him de ella of her
le (a él) to him le (a ella) to her
le, lo (a él) him la (a ella) her
con él with him con ella with her
en él in him en ella in her
Usted you (polite form for both masculine and feminine)
usted you
de usted of you
le (a usted) to you
le, lo (a usted) (masc.) (sees) you; la (a usted) you (fem.)
con usted with you
en usted in you


The preposition con being before the first person pronoun or the second person pronoun ti gets the special forms:

conmigo with me;

contigo with you

The preposition con doesn’t have special forms with the other pronouns.

La, lo, le

La, lo, le, lo, le, la... I was singing a song. Sorry. The usage of lo, la, le is a bit difficult to understand at first, but I hope that the summary below will be a good start. It will be easier later with practice.

la is the direct object meaning ‘her’, or a feminine noun ‘it’ or ‘you’ (polite form).

lo is the direct object meaning ‘him’, or a masculine noun ‘it’ or ‘you’ (p.f.).

le is the indirect object meaning ‘to him’, ‘to her’ or ‘to you’ (p.f.).

le can also be the direct object meaning ‘him’ or ‘you’ (p.f.) but only in Spain. This dialectal variation is called leísmo.

se replaces le when two pronouns are used in a sentence: Se la da. He / She gives it to him / her / you.

2. Conjugation of: poder, saber, acordarse, conocer

The verb poder be able to is an irregular verb of individual conjugation. However, in the present tense and in Pretérito imperfecto poder conjugates as verbs of group II of deviating conjugation. The verb poder doesn’t have imperative mood.


singular plural
1. puedo I am able to podemos we are able to
2. puedes you are able to podéis you are able to
3. puede he is able to pueden they are able to

The verb saber is an irregular verb of individual conjugation. Saber is used to talk about facts or learned skills. You can use it to talk about information you’ve memorized or to say you are able to swim, drive a car, speak a language, etc.

saberto know, can
singular plural
1. I know sabemos we know
2. sabes you know sabéis you know
3. sabe he knows saben they know








The verb acordarse belongs to group II of deviating conjugation (see lesson 16).


singular plural
1. yo me acuerdo I remember nosotros nos acordamos we remember
2. tú te acuerdas you remember vosotros os acordáis you remember
3. él se acuerda he remembers ellos se acuerdan they remember









Some deviations from the usual conjugation can be the same for verbs of different conjugations that keep all their features typical for the given conjugation except for these deviations.

Compare the verb poder — the verb of individual conjugation and the verb acordarse — the reflexive verb of conjugation I.

The verb conocer belongs to group III of deviating conjugation. Conocer is used to express familiarity (or lack thereof) with a person, place, or thing. For example, you can know, or be familiar with, a book, a movie, a country, or a certain person.


conocerknow, be familiar with
singular plural
1. conozco I know conocemos we know
2. conoces you know conocéis you know
3. conoce he knows conocen they know

The verbs that end in the infinitive form in -acer, -ecer, -ocer, -ucir get the consonant z before the consonant c [k] that goes with the vowel a or o in 1st person singular in the present tense, for example: conozco I know.

In the past tense and in the imperative mood the verbs conjugate by the rules of usual conjugation.




get to know!



get to know!


I. Translate the personal pronouns given in brackets in the right form:

Veo a Conchita y (her) pregunto. ¿Quieres este lápiz? — Sí, (it) quiero. Entonces (you) doy el lápiz, pero da (me) tu fotografía. — ¿Dónde está Lola? No (her) veo. — Lola habla con su padrino. ¿No (him) ves? (Him) veo. Voy a dar (him) un cigarrillo. Entra José y pregunta: — ¿Dónde está Juan?, quiero decir (him) algo. — ¡Juan! — llama Conchita, José quiere hablar (with you) . ¿Quién quiere hablar (with me) ? Entra la mamá de María. José dice: — Señora, ¿puedo preguntar (you, p.f.) dónde está María? — ¿Por qué? — Porque quiero ir (with her) al cine. ¿Puede ir ella (with me) ? Sí. Entonces puede usted decir (to her) que (her) espero aquí.


II. Translate into English:

Miro a Conchita y pienso: ¡Qué linda es! — y después la pregunto: — ¿No quieres ir al teatro conmigo? — No, — dice Conchita, — no quiero ir contigo, voy con mi hermano. — ¿Dónde está tu hermano? — ¿No lo ves? — No le conozco. ¿Es tu hermano este hombre alto y delgado que habla con María? — Sí. — ¿De quién habla con ella, de mí o de ti? — Ni de mí, ni de ti. Él le dice, que quiere ir al teatro con ella. — ¿Y qué le dice ella? — Ella le mira, se ruboriza y no contesta.


III. Translate into Spanish:

He gives his photo to her. She says to him: — Give me the book, too. — I can’t, I’m reading it now. Do you want to go to the cinema with me? With you, yes. Where is Maria? I don’t see her. I want to see her and say to her that we are going to the cinema. — Give this pencil to her, it’s her pencil. Maria enters and he gives the pencil to her. She looks at the pencil and says: — This is not my pencil.


IV. Translate into Spanish:

His pencil is on the table. I give his pencil to him. Her lamp is on the window. I look at her lamp. This is his book. I see him. This is her book. I give the book to her. This is your (p.f.) pen. I see you (p.f.). I give your pen to you (p.f.).