Yo no le ayudo a nadie.

English Translation

I help nobody.

Is there a direct object in this sentence? Is “le” and “a nadie” the indirect object?

There is no direct object in this sentence. Le is the indirect object pronoun, a is a preposition, and nadie is an (indirect) object.

1 Like

I’m actually convinced that nadie is the direct object. Consider how you would say “I help her”; it would be “La ayudo”, not “Le ayudo”.

And I wouldn’t argue with your first statement at all. Mostly because these grammatical labels are only as useful as they allow us to communicate with one another; otherwise they’re just navel-gazing. So the question becomes: do I want to be “incorrect” because I’m using the indirect object pronoun to refer to the direct object? or do I want to be “incorrect” because I’m labeling the direct object an indirect object?

Consider your example of “I help her”. I agree that la ayudo is a good translation, using the direct object pronoun la. But you also have to accept that while reading literature or speaking to others you’re going to see/hear le ayudo as meaning “I help her”, with the indirect object pronoun le. One of the first examples spanishdict.com gives for “I help her” is Ella siempre me ayuda, así como le ayudo. This is right next to the example Es una amiga… y a veces la ayudo.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also leísmo, the systematic use of indirect object pronouns instead of direct object pronouns (mostly with male subjects), which is widespread in parts of Spain.

Vive la différence!


I actually took this as an example of leísmo.

It should be noted that the pronoun is superfluous in this sentence.

1 Like