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  5. "Algo le ha pasado a mi coche…

"Algo le ha pasado a mi coche."

Translation:Something has happened to my car.

January 26, 2013



Why is the le needed here>


That is a characteristic of Spanish, that you add an (in)direct object pronoun, even though you also mention it explicitly later on the phrase.

So you can say:

  • le doy una manza (I give him/her an apple)


  • doy una manzana a María (I give an apple to Mary)

but very often you will hear

  • le doy una manzana a María (I give an apple to Mary)

It means the exact same thing. It's just the way Spanish speakers express themselves.


I understand the use of indirect object pronouns, but this is the first time (in my memory) that I have seen it applied to a thing, not a person.


That is not weird. Typically, an indirect object is a person. However there are some phrases possible in which the IO is an inanimate thing. Then "le" has to be used as well. This phrase is an example of that. Another example is:

  • Le puse más memoria al ordenador (I put more memory in the computer)


What you didn't mention is that this use of the indirect object is only used with certain verbs.


Care to elaborate, I'm unaware of this


Are you from spain Or better still, u speak... Like 'Spanish' Spanish :) ryt?!


I DON'T understand Spanish indirect objects. In English the car would be considered part of a prepositional phrase, not an indirect object.


Thanks fella. These darn pronouns are going to drive me crazy! (or "return" me crazy, as they say in Spanish)


¡me conduce loco! (as they say in English)


Isn´t the indirect object pronoun (le) compulsory?


It is quite common, but not compulsory.


It looks like there are very specific situations where the indirect object pronoun is and isn't required. See:



That's a pretty good explanation, but be aware that those "very specific situations" are actually quite common..


But isn't car more of an object of the preposition, rather than an indirect object? In English, you can't have an indirect object unless you have a direct object, and this sentence doesn't have one.


Talk to me. You write for me. You report only to me. IOs without DO, yes? Be careful of sweeping assertions!


I don't think we really disagree; it just appears to be one of the differences between English and Spanish grammar. Thank you for helping me to understand why you need the IO pronoun in Spanish! (Also, it would be considered an IO in English whenever you don't use a preposition, so it is used with other verbs such as: "He wrote me a letter", "She bought me a dress", "They brought him the book")


OK - I accept there are other verbs also! My original comment to you btw was to disagree that in English verbs must have a DO in order to have an IO and I used the example of "... you tell me" if you recall. Do you accept that "me" is an IO (w/o a DO in sight)?


Yes, you're right. That is definitely an IO without a DO, an exception to the rule. I can't think of any other examples off hand, but I'm sure there are a few.


But those all use prepositions, so they wouldn't be considered IOs.


With "tell the truth to me", truth is a direct object, and me is the object of the preposition "to". The prepositional phrase "to me" is an adverbial phrase modifying the verb "tell". With "tell me the truth" , truth is still the DO, but me is an IO of the verb tell. Yes, they both mean the same thing but the grammar is different in English. Apparently in Spanish, there is no distinction in the grammar.


Is that true - what you "tell ME" ? In English, which we were discussing, nearly all indirect objects are indicated by a preposition, usually "to", are they not? I just noticed your expression "object of the preposition" and I think that is part of the confusion. I do not believe prepositions have objects, verbs do.
"Tell the truth to me" is equivalent to "Tell me the truth", yes? In both cases the verb "tell" has the DO "the truth", you agree? In the latter case you would also agree that "me" is the IO of "tell" I think. Thus it is also in the former case this time because it explicitly says "to me" - which is what the "me" in the second case really means.
In Spanish, at least with pronouns, there is a single word for an IO but not typically in English as I hope I have explained


We will have to agree to disagree. Seems we have a difference of terminology and your "adverbial phrases" do not allow for concept of an indirect object of the verb. Your English must quite strange - the only verbs permitted by you to have indirect objects that immediately come to mind are "give" and "tell". Would you give me that as I have told you straight?


Do you have to use the indirect pronoun?


Yes, and the reason is because the verb demands it. "a mi coche" is optional information. There are verbs (sometimes called Exchange Verbs by a few textbook authors) that demand the indirect object pronouns when there is a "transfer"in the sentence. The more common ones are dar, contar, comprar, mandar, pedir, regalar, traer, escribir, mostrar, servir.


Hi Talca. I appreciate your comments usually but here you baffle me! I can see that some of the verbs you cite MAY (I'd say) have an IO along with a DO - I'm thinking of dar, escribir, mandar, mostrar...eg "te escribo una carta" and some i cannot see an IO at all eg comprar - compro el libro DO, no IO. So I cannot see the requirement (demand!) for an IO in atleast some of the verbs you give. Can you explain or give a reference?


My comment wasn't clear enough. Often people post: Why do we need an indirect object in the sentence? For example: José le da un beso a su hijo. The reason is that the verb requires it. Why? Because there is an exchange or transfer occurring. Yes, of course, you can use DAR without using an indirect object, too. (The cow gives milk.) http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/190367/redundant-use-of-indirect-object-pronouns


Talca - can't reply to you directly so replying to myself... Thanks for ypur prompt reply. It was amusing to find that the users at spanishdict are also confused and uncertain!


I understand that it's customary, but is it absolutely grammatically necessary here (as you say "it means the exact same thing") - insofar as the relevant object is explicitly identified in context, not implied or identified in a previous sentence?


In the example I gave, it's not necessary to use "le". In Duolingo's phrase (algo le ha pasado a mi coche), I'm not completely sure. Without "le", this particular phrase would sound weird to me, but maybe a native speaker could confirm if it's correct.

Also, you distinguish between something being "customary" or "absolutely grammatically necessary". I'd argue that those two are not separate concepts, but rather that they're almost the same thing. However, this depends on your definition of grammar.


The "sounds weird" test is surprisingly effective, but I too would like to hear from a native speaker here to gauge the nuances of the usage based on context. I try to "think in Spanish" but the way pronouns are used in comparison with English makes that difficult. The distinction I was making was mostly about formality, and the trade-offs between rigor and simplicity. I sometimes consciously break the "rules" when speaking English, because despite being a literary critic I hardly want to sound like one outside academia. (E.g.: consistent, correct use of the subjunctive in English is very rare in ordinary speech and to many people actually sounds wrong; I can't actually bring myself to say things like "I wish I was..." but nor to I object to it in casual conversation.)


Sean, this is an aside, but since you brought it up, be aware that one does not always use the subjunctive for conditional sentences, like "If I were a rich man ..." - switching the verb is reserved for those things that are definitively not true, and in that case I would use "were" because I am neither rich nor a man! You may use "was" in the case of something that may be true, such as "If an ambulance WAS on the way, we could have help soon to save these lives." One could have been called, and could be on the way.


Muchas gracias por la muy útil explicación.


so you're saying here that the indirect object pronoun is not compulsory?


Will it alway be "le" or is it determined by gender?


I thought it'd be something like something has passed my car. but oh well


I think it would be "algo ha pasado mi coche". the "a" signifies "to" which also indicates the need for the indirect object pronoun


I wonder if you might be rigt if the "a" wasn't there.


I thought it might be a personal pronoun... For someone who lurves their car!


Ha pasado por mi coche, I believe.


I thought the same thing!


Me too. But it wasn't, and i typed something different so I got it right!!!


maybe if you remove the 'le'?


Santa is too good with languages! You learned all of these so you communicate with the kids?


confused too. So would "Algo ha pasado a mi coche." be wrong?


Yes, you need an indirect object pronoun.


"Le" is the is indirect object pronoun (and is gender neutral). The distinction between direct and indirect object pronouns is very complicated (at least to me) in Spanish compared to some other languages, but basically you would use "lo" here (or "la" if the noun were feminine) if the action was more, well, "direct." If someone saw your car, set it on fire, sold it, et cetera, you'd use lo. Vague statements where something just "happens to" something else use "le" (the verb "pasar" is indeed a quintessential example)


Sorry, but your post contains a good deal of misinformation.


Why not 'lo' instead of 'le' there?


Lo is not an indirect object pronoun.


I am also confused about the 'le.'


Is "something's happened to my car" incorrect English?


No, it's perfectly correct.


Algo le ha pasado a mi carro.


Im fairly certain Ive seen similar sentences where the I.O pronoun was not used. Only (A + indirect object) to describe the receiver of the Direct Object. Is there a rule concerning when I HAVE to use the I.O.P. Does it have anything to do with verb being transitive/intransitive? Thanks


Just wondering, if somthing passed by my car, would we not have le or would we need lo?


I thought the "a" was only needed when talking about people and pets?


That is what grammarians call "the personal a" although that is merely a nomenclature given to foreigners trying to learn Spanish--not a specific type of preposition. Here the A is used as a "directional" (my term) preposition (to). It is not the personal a placed in front of people, pets.


I think this is the indirect object a, not the diectional a. directional is more like voy a casa, miro a la pantalla. we say something happened ”to” my car but that is just a coincidence. other languages may use a different proposition with the verb happen.


¿Dónde está tu coche dude?


Can someone explain with fragmentation?


Although it was not the correct meaning of it for this example, the tip for "pasado" included "...past..." instead of "passed," which seems wrong to me.


I didn't do it as i put the crow bar beind my back


I am confused about why this is an idirect object, isn' t it direct?


the direct object is ”something” the indirect object is ”my car”


Dude where's my car? Donde esta mi coche guey?


"Something's happened to my car." must be OK.


Something happened to my car is also correct


It's been washed!!!


I am having trouble with "pasado". Looked up the meaning and do not see "happened" as a definition. Where did "happened" come from???

If you type into SpanishDict translator: "the car has passed" you get "el coche ha pasado". So why is "passed" wrong here?



How would you say , something has passed my car ?


I would have thought it would be "algo ha pasado mi coche" but based on the note above I am not sure. I don't fully understand vt and vi verbs. Further explanation anyone?


Gone in seven seconds


The slow voice says 'un coche', not 'mi coche'.


why can't it be 'something has passed my car?'


!Malditos pelicanos!


¿Qué pelicanos? No hay ningunos pelicanos.


Ahh! Quiza una gaviota?


¡Oye, por supuesto!


Percyflage, Fluent2B; No fair, you cannot make statements that I and others do not understand without explanations. I am too curious to let this go. Gracias


si', se murió en septiembre :(


why does spanish need so many bloody pronouns, how good a speaker does one want to be.


something happened to my car, why incorrect? Something's would be something is happened??


ha pasado = has happened In this case, the contraction 's stands for "has" rather than "is".


I don't know why "something happened" is not correct. Im here trying to figure that out. But "something's" could be either IS or something HAS.


The DL sentence has an auxiliary verb in it (ha) = has. The computer program here demands that that word be included in your translation.

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