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  5. "Nosotras los habremos alcanz…

"Nosotras los habremos alcanzado a ustedes."

Translation:We will have caught up with you.

February 4, 2013



Why is the "los" necessary here?


It is the direct object pronoun that indicates the thing being caught up to. "Los" means that thing is a "them" or a plural "you." It must be there. The "a ustedes" is what is optional, and it is what clarifies the "los" as a plural, formal, "you."


I thought that indirect redundant pronoun was required and direct was optional. Do I have it backwards?


You can say either of the two following constructions:

"Nosotras los habremos alcanzado a ustedes"


"Nosotras los habremos alcanzado"


"Nosotras habremos alcanzado a ustedes"


That is counter-intuitive for me. But I appreciate the info.


It is a complex set of rules depending on if the direct/indirect object is listed before or after the verb.

In this case it is after. In this case, if the direct object is also a pronoun (a ustedes) then you will need to include the object pronoun before the verb.

Here is the page from RAE (Royal Spanish Academy):


5 .1 . Si el complemento tónico es también un pronombre personal, la coaparición del pronombre átono es obligatoria, tanto si el complemento es directo como indirecto: Me castigaron a mí; A ti te dieron el premio (no Castigaron a mí; A ti dieron el premio). Aunque son posibles, en estos casos, oraciones idénticas sin el complemento tónico (Me castigaron; Te dieron el premio), existen diferencias expresivas de importancia entre ambas posibilidades: la presencia del complemento tónico denota un propósito de contraste o discriminación, ausente de la oración en la que solo aparece el pronombre átono; así, en Me castigaron a mí, frente a Me castigaron, se subraya el hecho de que ha sido solo a mí, y no a otros igualmente merecedores de ello o más culpables que yo, a quien se ha castigado.

Another good page is here:



For direct objects, when the object is a simple pronoun a mí, a tí, a él, a ella, a usted, a nosotros, a ellos or a ustedes....

the pronoun before the verb is obligatory, even if you have the direct object following "a"

It is the direct object following "a" which is optional, not the direct object pronoun before the verb.

If it is something OTHER than a simple pronoun, a mi madre, for example is not a simple pronoun, then if that it included, the only time the direct object pronoun must be include is if the phrase (a mi madre) occurs before the verb.


So helpful! That explains a couple of other exercises I just did that did not include the pronoun before the verb. Thanks


rspreng is absolutely correct in what he is saying about this particular sentence.His analysis is very precise !


That makes sense. Thank you!


Much clearer now. Think I've got it !


Ok. But shouldn't los replace ustedes?


Thank you for that good explanation


No, the "a ustedes" is not optional. This is a very particular expression, but it removes all ambiguity. Consider:

Nosotras los habremos alcanzado a ustedes. / We will have caught up with you. / ["los" and "ustedes" are masculine]

Nosotras las habremos alcanzado a ustedes. / We will have caught up with you. / ["los" and "ustedes" are feminine] /

Nosotras los habremos alcanzado. / We will have caught up with you. / ["los" is not clear: it could be referring to either you (plural) or to them]

Nosotras habremos alcanzado a ustedes. / We will have caught up with you. / [It is not clear whether "ustedes" is masculine or féminine--although that is normal in English, Spanish is able to be more precise]

So, the original expression "Nosotras los habremos alcanzado a ustedes" is very precise with an unambiguous interpretation. In particular, "Nosotras los habremos alcanzado" would lose the precision that we are talking about "you".


I often find Spanish to be ambiguous. Consider the opening to the Spanish translation to the English Patient...

"Se puso de pie en el jardín en el que había estado trabajando y miró a lo lejos. Había notado un cambio en el tiempo. Se había vuelto a levantar viento, voluta sonora en el aire, y los altos cipreses oscilaban. Se volvió y subió la cuesta hacia la casa, trepó una pared baja y sintió las primeras gotas de lluvia en sus desnudos brazos. Cruzó el pórtico y se apresuró a entrar en la casa. No se detuvo en la cocina, sino que la cruzó y subió la escalera a obscuras y después continuó por el largo pasillo, a cuyo final se proyectaba la luz que pasaba por una puerta abierta. Giró y entró en la habitación: otro jardín, de árboles y parras esta vez, pintado en sus paredes y techo. El hombre yacía en la cama con el cuerpo expuesto a la brisa y, al oírla entrar, volvió ligeramente la cabeza hacia ella."

Now consider the original English...

"She stands up..."

In the English version you know that it´s a woman from the very first word. The paragraph repeats "she", "she", "she" over and over again. In the Spanish you don´t know until the very last sentence of that long passage that the character is a woman. I was dumbfounded by this. It would have been so easy, so simple, to start the second sentence with Ella without changing the meaning of anything and creating only the slightest pause.

"Ella había notado un cambio en el tiempo."

But they didn't. And I have to think that it was completely intentional. They have the opportunity to identify her as a woman over and over again and they pass on it. Not until they almost have to, in the very last sentence, when the man hears her, and turns his head toward her does he relent and admit that she's a woman. Almost as if the translator was reluctant to do so. I see the same thing in other books too, where ambiguity is left out there, only to be resolved later...sometimes sentences later. I think about it any time I see it and, especially when I'm translating sentences back and forth. Ambiguous, ambiguous...

How, in Spanish, there's ambiguity everywhere. It's the idea of listener's mind allowed to float and for important details to develop in other ways than in the way we do it in English. It's big...broad...and very, very normal.


Are you 100% sure about this one rspreng? I don't believe it is necessary - as you can see from the answer to another question in this section. It is the direct object pronoun. "Habremos alcanzado a ustedes" should be enough. http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons Unit four covers direct and indiect object pronouns "los" is the dop and "les" is the iop in the formal you case. Having said that I do believe that "Los habremos alcanzado" is also valid but would have more possible ambiguities.


That link is no longer valid, but I'm pretty sure rspreng is correct.
Check out this link http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1518148

In those examples you are explicit about what is the observed thing. Without being explicit:
Yo lo observo--->correct.
Yo lo observo a él---> redundant but it pass. here lo+él works.
Yo observo a él----> Incorrect. "lo" is mandatory if you are not explicit about the subject, and here él is not enough


I thought Direct Object Pronouns were only required when the sentence is not specific while Indirect Object Pronouns are always required even when the sentence is already explicit.


What's not specific enough about yo observo a él!


can we use 'las' instead of 'los' if they're all female? Can someone clear this up?


Yes, “las” If they’re all female.


Por supuesto ! Absolutely correct


I don't understand why a direct object pronoun is required and a direct object is not sufficient.

I call my mother. Llamo a mi madre.

I call her. La llamo.

I call her, my mother. La llamo a mi madre.

A pronoun replaces a noun, but surely the noun would be allowed to replace the pronoun.



Thanks, rspreng. Although I knew, I was still hoping for your explanation, concise and lucid as ever.


I am still somewhat confused


Parece que dice..." Nosotras DOS "


We shall have reached you.


Is this "caught up with" in the sense of finding out what each other have been up to lately? Or in the sense of a score like in a game? Or spatially/physically like a race or when out walking?


"We shall have caught up with you" should also correct, if more formal. First-person can take "shall" instead of "will" in the future tenses.


"We will have caught you up" is acceptable in English English

[deactivated user]

    I though "a ustedes" indicated an indirect pronoun " le" (ustedes follows a preposition)


    A ustedes can clarify les (indirect object pronoun) or los/las (direct object pronouns).


    Marcy, I am confused having read all he points of view. Even some/one web site(s) have been discounted? Can you clarify the rule about direct and indirect objects? It helps to have examples in Spanish that are also translated because the structure of IDO and DO sounds different now. I thought I understood, but seem now to feel I do not..


    Hi, Marie. Please study all about direct and indirect object pronouns at studyspanish.com (Grammar Unit Four). There are lots of examples in Spanish that are also translated, and even a couple of quizzes you can take for each topic (and more if you want to register). This may narrow your confusion down to a more specific question about clarifying the rule about direct and indirect objects.
    I think wazzie meant that the link itself didn't work, not that the website has been discounted.
    And yes, rspreng is correct. :-)


    Can someone clarify why the above sentance needs 'los' at the beginning but the following doesn't?

    "Tú habrás alcanzado a los niños. "


    I'm pretty sure you're right and literally most people in this forum are wrong


    A comment above about needing the “los” when the direct object is not specific makes me think that “a los niños” is a specific-enough direct object so “los” is not required. But “him”, a mere pronoun, “a él”, perhaps is not specific enough, so “los” is required. That’s my current theory. (Keeping my eyes open for further confirmation.)


    Isn't nosotros also possible (i.e. masculine we)


    really really really annoying getting counted wrong for using "nosotros." i realize it is a listening exercise but still.


    Why is "nosotros" wrong? There are no contextual clues to the gender of the "we."


    The audio says "nosotras", Spanish has gender so you have to listen to it.


    We will have caught you up is a perfectly acceptable English translation of the Spanish and should not be marked wrong.


    What´s the difference between ¨We WOULD have caught up with you¨ and ¨We WILL have caught up with you¨?


    HealthyCutlet, 'we would have caught up with you' is an unfulfilled condition: the 'you' would be followed by 'if' or 'but', giving the reason for non-fulfilment, eg 'but you were too fast for us'. 'we will have caught up with you' is a statement of fact, which would be followed by 'by' or 'when', giving the future time or condition of fulfilment, eg 'when you stop to have a pee'.


    We will have reached them? Why not? Ustedes is plural not?


    Ustedes is plural for 'You'. It only uses the same object pronouns & conjugations as 'them', but is distinct from 'ellos/ellas'.


    Please read the other answers


    Can you also use "contigo" and the ending?


    Nobody seems to have realised that in English "to reach" and "to have caught up" are not the same at all ! You "reach" somewhere or something. You "catch up" with someone who is ahead of you (either physically or otherwise). You can reach someone behind you but only catch up with someone in front. How do we know which is being referred to in Spanish ?


    We are all aware that "reach" and "catch up" are different in English. The problem is Spanish uses word word for both senses.


    Only context can tell you which one fits the best when translating.


    can los mean "them" not just "you"?


    It can other times, but here we have ustedes to tell us it's you.


    Would "Nostotros les habremos alcanzado a ustedes" also be correct, and if not, can anyone explain why not?


    What I don't understand is this: if you need an 'a' before the ustedes, why is this not an INDIRECT pronoun, whereby the pronoun before the verb is then 'les'.


    It is alcanzar algo/a alguien although sometimes it is alcanzar a algo as well (part of verb+preposition combo).

    The A here is a personal-A. You use a personal-A with direct objects when direct object is a human, your own pets and in some limited cases personified nouns.

    Here is a good article:



    When is alcanzado "reaching out to" or "catching up with"?


    "We will have reached you" is also accepted.


    Why not... We will have reached them


    Thank you for answering

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