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  5. "Yo no la toco a ella."

"Yo no la toco a ella."

Translation:I do not touch her.

February 7, 2013



The sentence is not considered correct in many Spanish speaking countries. The notable exception is Argentina, where this construction is common. Here are the simplified rules according to the RAE: (there are some exceptions)

  1. The direct object should not be duplicated if the reference is mentioned after the verb: Toco a ella, or la loco. But not: La toco a ella.

  2. The direct and indirect object must be duplicated if the reference is mentioned before the verb: A ella, la loco. But not: a ella toco.

  3. Duplication of indirect object is optional if the reference is mentioned after the verb: Le di un libro a Juan, or Di un libro a Juan.

Since this is elementary Spanish, It may be worth saying that «Toco ella» is incorrect in any version of Spanish. It is either «toco a ella» or «la toco». Nether «toco ella» nor «La toco a ella» is standard Spanish,


Are you sure about your point 1 here:

The direct object should not be duplicated if the reference is mentioned after the verb: Toco a ella, or la loco. But not: La toco a ella.

Since we are dealing with a DO pronoun (la) and a personal pronoun (a ella), I didn't think that you could write the sentence as just "toco a ella". While the personal pronoun a ella (as you mentioned) is entirely redundant, I didn't think we were allowed to drop the la (like we could if the sentence were [La] Toco a Maria).


This is leaving me so confused about when the object pronoun is required for direct objects.

If you are correct, this also applies for number 3 right? The indirect object pronoun is only optional if the indirect object is not a personal pronoun? So although "di un libro a Juan" might be valid (though, as I understand it, very uncommon), "di un libro a él" would be invalid because it uses a personal pronoun and therefore requires "le".

Of course, from my understanding, everyone almost always includes "le" (or equivalent) either way for the indirect object, so it's almost a moot point in that regard. However since the direct object pronoun is clearly commonly left out in many cases, there is quite a lot of conflicting information floating around in the discussions and I'm not quite sure who to believe about when it's optional, when it's mandatory, and when it should be left out.

So for the purpose of clarification, can someone (a native speaker) confirm:

  1. Veo a ella

    Incorrect - a personal pronoun requires an object pronoun.

  2. La veo a ella

    Correct - for the same reason as above.

  3. Veo a María

    Correct - uses a noun (proper noun in this case) so "la" is not required.

  4. La veo a María

    Considered correct in Argentina but incorrect elsewhere? Or considered technically correct elsewhere but never used because of redundancy?

  5. A María la veo

    Correct - the object comes first in the sentence, therefore we need the object pronoun in order to refer to it.

  6. A María veo

    Incorrect - for the same reason as above.

Edit (9 months later):

I'm fully confident now that Fraunsois is incorrect (which is a shame because that post has a ton of upvotes and lingots).

I've explained this in more detail in other posts I've made since, but "her" as a direct object is "la", period. It is not optional. "a ella" is a prepositional phrase only included to clarify that "la" refers to "her" and not "it" or "you" (formal), or possibly for emphasis, and it is optional. However "la" is mandatory. It's similar for other personal pronouns, they don't get treated like other objects grammatically.

Reference: Section 5 (mainly 5.1) here: http://lema.rae.es/dpd/?key=pronombres+personales+atonos#5

It uses technical language in Spanish, but it's very informative if you can comprehend it.

From their example (same type of grammatical construction as this sentence):

  • Me castigaron a mí - Correct (and contains emphasis: "They punished me")

  • Castigaron a mí - Incorrect, requires the DO pronoun "me".


Great question ! If some native speaker approves of these sentences, i will be all clear about Object pronouns as well :)


For clarification: I'm pretty sure Fraunsois means "la toco", in both 1 and 2. :)


I saw that. He should come back and edit his typos. It is a major failing to allow typos to remain in such explanations.


A highly relevant "exception" you neglected to mention is this: "Si el complemento tónico es también un pronombre personal, la coaparición del pronombre átono es obligatoria, tanto si el complemento es directo como indirecto". This is taken from 5.1 in http://goo.gl/ra29oy.

That RAE document explains that personal pronouns have to be duplicated with clitics whether they come before or after the verb and whether they serve as direct or indirect objects.

What are the sources you can use to support your assertions in this discussion?


Exactly. I've heard and said "Toco a alguien" Or "Lo/La toco", but It sounds really weird hearing them both together.


Why "la loco"? What does "loco" have to do with "toco"? This has made this more confusing.


That is my defence, your honour.


Seriously. I've gotten this sentence at least 10 times over the course of this lesson in various ways. What are they trying to prepare me for?


?? with a barge pole?!


Why isn't it 'le' instead of 'la'?


'Le' is for indirect objects. Use 'lo/la' for direct objects.


What does direct/indirect object mean? I don't know these "grammar technical" words..


A direct object is a (pro)noun that receives the action of the verb. An indirect object answers the question "to whom or for whom?" Sometimes this is directly stated (to someone), sometimes implied.

I kicked Dan the ball. Ball receives action so DO. Dan receives the DO (I kicked to him) so he is the IO.


The explanations by some of you are not simplified by any means.. and therefore further confuse me. Can anyone explain this in more simple terms, rather then trying to sound like a professor?


… that if the receiver of the action is a HER, and not a MARIA, an ANITA, a JANE, or an ELIZABETH, for example, then the LA before the verb is required. And then it's up to you if you want to add "A ELLA" at the end or not -- either way is fine (although the version with "a ella" is redundant). So:

Yo la toco. (I touch her)
Here, la is required. Period. "La" is the "her"

Yo la toco a ella. ("I touch her.)
Here, la is required; "a ella" is optional. And it is redundant.

Yo toco a María. (I touch María)
(Here, la is not required; it's not even needed because the receiver of the action is a noun, that is, a designated name for something/someone.)

Note: This is about "DIRECT Object Pronoun only; the INDIRECT Object pronoun is another discussion.


Sure you don't, Donald.


Por qué no: "Yo no toco a ella"?


The "la" is needed as the direct object pronoun. "Yo no lo toco a él" Depending on the context "a ella" at the end may be redundant and not needed, but that pronoun needs to be there.


It is not necesary to say "a ella"


Ok so someone who knows,tell me if i have this right. Yo no la toca is fine by itself, but could mean any feminine object. Adding a ella clarifies that it's a female person that you're talking about. ?


I have no idea what is going on with this lesson. Sometimes i wish there were some optional "rules" you could click on a read.


Why did they add, "a ella" at the end? It makes no sense.


The "a Ella" at the end can be left off, but Duo is showing it so that we can know how to include it when it may be necessary to include it so as to avoid confusions as to what the indirect object pertains to.


A minor point: this is a direct, not an indirect, object.


Why the first choice for toco is to feel and I used it and got it wrong?


I'm sorry. I've read this entire thread, and I still don't understand the point of "la". How does "Yo no la toco a ella" differ from "Yo no toco a ella"?


"Yo no toco a ella" is just wrong.

(Using the verb here in our sentence:)
When what is being touched is a "her" (and not, say, a name of something/someone), there MUST be a "la" in the sentence. That is just the rule. So you can forget about the "a ella" for now and just focus on the "la", because "a ella" is NOT what makes your sentence correct; it is the "la". Now, the "a ella" is a redundancy because "la" already is a "her" (and not a "him"), so it is optional. Whenever you have a sentence like "I [verb] her" or "He [verb] her" or They [verb] her", etc., there MUST always be a "la".

I touch HER.
Yo la toco.

I know HER.
Yo la conozco.

I see HER.
Yo la veo.

Now, in all of the sample sentences, you may or may not add the "a ella", but it is redundant (to me it's not just redundant; it is silly). That's why other commenters here complain about Duolingo's adding it.


Can i say "yo no lo toco a él" ?


Hmmm. DL told me the correct translation was "I am not touching her." In English, that's a different meaning. Are they interchangeable, and there has to be more to the conversation to figure out which it means?


Yes, both translations are correct, and context makes the difference.


The sentence construction seems really weird...


It is weird, you're right—but the question is, does it seem weird to you because it's so different from the English construction (which it is, and it should be), or because it's weird according to Spanish rules (which it is)?


You're tearing me apart Lisa!


¡Es una mierda! ¡Yo no!

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