I'm not even sure how to title this question

I am a native English speaker who has completed the Spanish tree, and on advice from the forums, am trying the English tree from Spanish to continue to improve my Spanish.

There are differences and I wonder how it works in Spanish.

In English to Spanish, for instance, "Do you want to help me?" Is translated as (sorry, I can't do correct punctuation and accents on my iPad): Me quieres ayudar.

In Spanish to English it is translated as: Quieres ayudarme

Con mi becomes conmigo and so on. I assume both are correct. Are there rules for when to use which method? Can you turn any verb both ways? Triagame or darme or conocerlo, etc?

Appreciate any information, or directions to a helpful web site!

June 16, 2017


I'm pretty sure "con mi" (and con ti and con se for that matter) are grammatically incorrect. You have to use conmigo etc.

June 16, 2017

I have a B.A. in Spanish and teach it. Here is the best thing I have come across for word order:

N.C.- P.I.G. (N.C. before verb; P.I.G. after verb)

this works with all direct, indirect, and reflexive pronouns (i.e. me, te, le, lo, la, se, nos, los, las, les).

before the verb:

*N- negative command (i.e. no me hables "don't talk to me")

*C- conjugated verb (i.e. me hablas "you talk to me")

and after the verb:

*P-positive command (i.e. háblame "talk to me")

*I-infinitive "to..." verb (i.e. hablarme "to talk to me")

*G-gerund "ing" (i.e. hablándome "talking to me")

The reason that it can be either ¿Quieres ayudarme? or ¿Me quieres ayudar? is because you have a declarative conjugated verb (quieres) which means it can come before. You also have an infinitive verb (ayudar = to help) which means that it can come after it; however it is VERY INCORRECT to say ¿Quieres me ayudar?.

June 16, 2017

I appreciate both of you taking the time to respond and clarify bits, but it doesn't really address my main question which is - does it matter when you use which method? Is one more formal and the other less, for example? Or are they both completely interchangeable? Is either way more common in native Spanish speaking countries?

Can you attach the pronoun to the end of the verb in any case ( ay me, there are so many conjugations and I don't really get them all yet ;))? Does it only work in the infinitive as in the example above, or can it be used with the imperative, and so on?

June 16, 2017

You can attach the object pronoun to the infinitive. With the positive imperative, it is mandatory.

Dígame. Tell me. (Usted form.)


No me diga. Don't tell me.

Otherwise, object pronouns go before the verb. Me dijo que había comprado un nuevo carro.

I have always understood the two methods to be completely interchangeable with infinitives.

June 16, 2017

Pronouns can also follow the gerund (the form of the verb corresponding with the "-ing" form in English).

June 16, 2017

Yup, this is correct. The gerundio form slipped my mind.

June 16, 2017

Appreciate it, very helpful.

June 16, 2017

There is no preference.

For imperatives it is more complicated.
With all affirmative commands, the object pronouns are attached directly to the end of the imperative form of the verb. If the command has more than one syllable, a written accent is required when a pronoun is added in order to maintain the stress of the original verb.
With all negative commands, the object pronouns come before the imperative form of the verb.

June 16, 2017

Thank you, very helpful!

June 16, 2017

What I remember from Spanish class is that there are three tenses in which you have to put the pronoun after the verb:

  • imperativo: "cállate!" (Shut up!)
  • Infinitivo: "callarse" (to shup up (one'sself))

  • and another one sorry I can't remember right now but I'll try to find out what it is...

  • it's the Gerundio!: "cozinándola" (cooking it)

June 16, 2017

Accents are tough to remember, but if we don't use them, Spanish speakers will underestimate our Spanish:

  • Cállate.

  • Cocinándola

I hope you don't mind the corrections. (Also, oneself.)

June 16, 2017

"callate" is what some of us say, tho ;)

June 16, 2017

The Spanish Duo teaches is a basic Spanish to lower intermediate level (max) whereas the Spanish they use when teaching English is aimed at a fluent native speakers. Both your examples are correct AFAIK but it is common practice for native speakers to add the object pronoun onto the end of the verb.

June 16, 2017

They are both correct in your first example. when using an infinitive, the object pronoun can go before the verb or after the infinitive. Example: I want to drink it. La quiero beber or Quiero beberla. Notice that the pronoun must be attached to the infinitive. Tràigame is an affirmative command, so the pronoun must go at the end of the verb. In negative commands it goes before the verb. No me traiga.

If you have any other questions, I will be happy to help you. Buena suerte, Carlos Rubio

June 16, 2017

On i devices, so far as I know, the way to access the ¿ and accents is just to hold down the relevant key (i.e. the ? key, the key for the vowel, or n). I know it works this way on an iPhone, think it works this way on an Apple computer, so would be surprised if it were different on an iPad, although I could be wrong.

June 16, 2017

Ah, it does! Although for ¿ I have to go into the number screen instead of using the ? from shifting on my main këÿbòárd. Helpful! Thank you for the tip. I'm a windows gal, aside from my phone / tablet.

June 16, 2017

You can go to settings and add the Spanish keyboard.

June 16, 2017

You're welcome. If you use autocorrect, then for any amount of Spanish typing you'd want to activate the Spanish keyboard to avoid your words being utterly mangled. On an iPhone this takes about three taps, so I don't suppose it's too hard on an iPad either.

June 16, 2017

On my computer, I just memorized all the alt codes I needed and find it simpler than using a different keyboard. But I injured my back so I can't sit at my computer for long, and since I have little else to do but read and use my iPad (or read on my iPad ;)) I'm spending an awful lot of time in the Duolingo app :)

June 16, 2017
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I also am an English speaker. Pretty sure it's acceptable to add the pronoun to the infinitive. Buena Suerte!

June 16, 2017
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