Indirect object pronouns

Indirect object pronouns replace nouns in order to avoid repetition. They answer questions such as “to whom?” and “to what?” and they are used with verbs followed by a (to), such as parlare a (to speak to), telefonare a* (to phone), chiedere a* (to ask), rispondere a (to respond to), etc. 

*these verbs take the preposition a in Italian, although they do not take “to” in English.

Lucia ha telefonato a Luca → Lucia gli ha telefonato. 

Lucia phoned Luca Lucia phoned him.

Paolo parla a noi dei suoi problemi → Paolo ci parla dei suoi problemi.

Paolo is talking to us about his problems Paolo is talking to us about his problems.

1ª personaLui mi rispondeTu ci rispondi
2ª personaLei ti rispondeLui vi risponde
3ª personaLei gli risponde (♂)

Lui le risponde (♀)

Lui risponde loro (♂)

Lei risponde loro (♀)

Indirect object pronouns generally come just before the verb, with the exception of loro (to them), which comes right after the verb:

Le ho mandato una lettera ieri. 

I sent her a letter yesterday.

Ho dato loro delle caramelle. 

I gave them some candy.

Exception: with a verb that is in the infinitive, the imperative or the gerundio ("-ing" form equivalent), pronouns (apart from loro) are generally attached to the end of the verb, forming a single word.

Puoi scrivergli. 

You can write to him.

Prestale la tua maglietta. 

Lend her your t-shirt.

Note: when speaking informally, we can say gli instead of the indirect object pronoun loro.

Ieri gli ho fatto sentire la nuova canzone. = a loro

I let them hear the new song yesterday.

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