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  5. "Él la reconoce a ella."

"Él la reconoce a ella."

Translation:He recognizes her.

April 5, 2013



What is the purpose of "la" in this sentence? It would seem complete without it.


It wouldn't funnily enough, although it would be complete without the "a ella." The la, however, is non-negotiable.


Great feedback. Thanks


its the direct object pronoun, introduced a couple of lessons ago - this is the "her" in the sentence. The "a ella" on the end of the sentence simply clarifies that it is "her" he recognises, and not some unspecified "it" or "you".


Thank you for this answer. You have provided much needed clarification.


and in Spanish the indirect and direct object personal pronouns go before the verb, indirect first. Unlike English


...or they follow after the Spanish verb in some cases.

By the way, the pronouns are not always personal. So it is probably a good idea to be careful about how you refer to them.


Thank you. This helped me understand the relationship with the direct object before the verb and what seemed like a redundancy. Now I understand. Its not a redundancy; its a clarification of the direct object.


You might want to reevaluate what a redundancy is. What seems like a redundancy to you really is a redundancy.


Hola meharned: Duolingo requires the "redundant direct object pronoun" so the "la" is required even though the sentence already has "a ella".

I have not seen this taught in any of the other (many) language schools I have attended.

You can do a Google or other search of this question and you will get a variety of answers.

But if we are using Duolingo we go by their rules.


This confusion arises because we're using a personal pronoun (e.g. him/her/it/them/you/me/us) as an object, which REQUIRES the direct object pronoun (known as a "clitic" or "atonic" pronoun) in any case, period.

i.e. in this case the "la" gives the primary meaning of "her/it/you-formal", while "a ella" is just to clarify that it does in fact refer to "her". It may help if I tell you that that is not a personal "a" per se, it's a prepositional one used to set up the clarifier. You can drop the "a ella" if it's clear from context, but you can't drop the "la".

It might be easier if you think about another example using a different pronoun. To say "I love you", you don't (and can't) say "amo a ti", you say "te amo". You could say "te amo a ti" but the difference in this case is that there's no point (unless it's for emphasis), because "te" is not ambiguous. Note that the prepositional pronoun "ti" is used since we're referring to an object, not a subject - however apart from mí and ti the subject and prepositional pronouns happen to be the same, which contributes to the confusion.

For anything that ISN'T a personal pronoun, e.g. just a normal noun like "woman", or a name like "Maria", then the direct object pronoun SHOULD be EXCLUDED, just like we've been learning up until now (there are a few exceptions in certain constructions/Argentinian dialect). So you can correctly say "él reconoce a la mujer", or "él reconoce a Maria", and adding a "la" in front of the verb would be considered incorrect (almost) everywhere.

There are no contradictions, it's just that personal pronouns don't get treated the same as other objects grammatically.

Note that this all applies to direct objects - indirect objects have slightly different rules.

Edit: if anyone needs a source or just wants to do their own research, have a look at section 5 here: http://lema.rae.es/dpd/?key=pronombres+personales+atonos#5 (mainly 5.1). Just be warned that it's in Spanish and the terminology is pretty technical, but it's very informative if you can comprehend it (there are some correct and incorrect examples given which help a little).


As I once saw someone else say to an especially helpful Duo user: Can you just follow me around Duolingo like, ALL the time?! :-p


:-) Yes, I believe that was to Luis - who writes really beautiful clarifications and uh... works for Duolingo https://www.duolingo.com/Luis


Malkeynz, this is a great explanation. Thank you very much.


Correction to "For anything that ISN'T a pronoun ... ". The atonic pronoun is mandatory if the object, direct or indirect, comes before the verb: A la mujer la reconoce see RAE 5.2


Yes that's true, thanks. I've mentioned it in some other posts I've made on the topic but decided to leave it out of this one so things didn't get too confusing.


Atonic pronoun--so that's the proper name for it...Gracias. Mantente al tanto de todo.



This is a correction to your error:

quote by malkeynz:
i.e. in this case the "la" gives the primary meaning of "her/it/you-formal", while "a ella" is just to clarify that it does in fact refer to "her". It may help if I tell you that that is not a personal "a" per se, it's a prepositional one used to set up the clarifier. ...

My first impression when I initially saw this Spanish sentence was that it is probably a personal A. After studying the matter to make sure I am right, I conclude that I am right. It is a personal A.

We don't use the personal A before non-specific things or people. We don't use the personal A when the person we’re talking about could be anyone.

Él necesita un doctor.
― He needs a doctor.

However in this Duolingo exercise, the Duolingo Spanish sentence is referring to a specific individual that "he" recognizes. So there is no reason not to categorize the A in this Duolingo exercise as a personal a. It is a personal a.

If anybody desires further clarification, then I recommend the chart on the following web page:


quote from the chart on the web page I just referred to:
Personal a used:

5.With tonic (stressed) pronouns: Lo vi a él.

If anybody just wants to read a simple essay about the personal A:
Doctor Lemon explains the personal A


Best explanation ever. ¡Muchas gracias!



It was a good post. I am not disputing that. But we cannot describe the post as the "best ever." Not if we want to stay in reality. Let's be real.

kirakrakra found one mistake and malkeynz acknowledged this by writing a post in reply.

I found a second mistake and I posted a reply to malkeynz. And I am sure that someone who is capable of making a careful review of my post can confirm that I was right.

So, I am counting two mistakes.


By RAE it is not necessary although it can be used. Yes, this is to help drill it in even though it becomes a little confusing after you get it.


Gosh. I need to brush up on grammar again. I still don't quite understand why "la" is here. I thought that "la" functioned as "it" or "the," sooo.....


As an object pronoun, "la" means "she/it." It's the other half of "lo," which means "he/it."


"la" is the pronoun "her". "A ella" merely clarifies the question "which her?"


I got the question with the list of translations to choose from. One of the options is "He is her tool."

I thought this was a family friendly web site... :-P


I don't see why this couldn't mean "He admits it to her."


That was my question too.


Could someone explain the difference between direct object pronouns and indirect? I've look on numerous grammer websites and I still can't figure it out. At least when it comes to Spanish.. I just don't see why it couldn't be " El le reconoce a ella." They seem to be saying the same exact thing. Any help would be appreciated, seriously!!!


Jackherbach12, Le = to her
So your sentence would sound akin to 'he recognizes to her.'

I also have a hard time with the DOP and IOP. I still haven't found a definitive list that explains all circumstances that require a redundant object. However, i can usually clear up confusion with the spanish objects by refreshing my english grammar. Check out this link:



Consider the sentence Dave baked Sue a cake. Dave is the subject, he's the one doing the action. Baked is a transitive verb, it needs a direct object that will receive the action.
What did Dave bake... Sue? ^_^ No, Dave baked a cake. Cake is the direct object. But why did he bake a cake? He baked it FOR Sue. Sue is the indirect object. Here, the indirect object is a beneficiary.
What about this... Sue sent a thank-you card to Dave. Sue is the subject, the card is the direct object, and Dave is the indirect object. But this time the indirect object is a recipient, because something was sent TO the indirect object.
If we already know what we're talking about, we can substitute pronouns for our subject and objects... She sent it to him.
Spanish requires that if you have an indirect object present, then the indirect object pronoun also needs to be there...
Ella le envió la tarjeta a Dave - - - or dropping the direct object...
Ella se la envió a Dave - - - or dropping the indirect object...
Ella se la envió - - - or dropping the subject as well...
Se la envió
Duolingo is being a fruitcake requiring the direct object pronoun to be present when the direct object itself is present. In fact, all other learning resources that I've seen show that you have one or the other, but not both.


This is a nice test of pronouns :) The "a ella" is used to clarify what is being seen otherwise without context it could also be "He recognizes it/you (formal usted)"


Shoot just got done with past tense and wrote this in past tense.


I get that the 'a ella' is the clarifier for the 'la.' But what if I wanted to say 'he recognizes it' (with the it being a feminine noun), while clarifying that the 'la' means 'it' and not 'her'?



With the exception of the personal A, normally prepositions are not used in front of direct objects.

Notice the personal A:
Él la reconoce a ella.
― He recognizes her.

Notice the personal A:
Él reconoce a la mujer. Él la reconoce.
― He recognizes the woman. He recognizes her.

In contrast with the previous Spanish sentence:
¿Él reconoce la oficina? Sí, él la reconoce.
― Does he recognize the office? Yes, he recognizes it.

prepositional phrase:
"en la oficina"
― in the office
― at the office

The object of this prepositional phrase is oficina. If we insert this Spanish prepositional phrase, en la oficina, into a Spanish sentence, it isn't going to work as a direct object in a Spanish sentence. I don't think anyone can create a Spanish sentence using this particular prepositional phrase as a direct object.

With the exception of the personal A, prepositional objects ≠ direct objects


ok, I get the use of la, redundant or otherwise, however i read this as "he admits it to her" I am just looking for a little clarity. My native Spanish speaking wife understands my confusion.



  • He admits it to her = (Él) se lo reconoce (a ella). The pronoun IT is a DIRECT object = LO. The pronoun SHE is an INDIRECT object and its indirect objectform LE is MANDATORY whereas its stressed form A ELLA is REDUNDANT. The order is first indirect and then direct. Then the L in LE becomes S. Hence the SE LO

  • (Él) la reconoce (a ella) = He recognizes her. LA is the MANDATORY DIRECT object form of ELLA. The stressed objectform A ELLA is REDUNDANT. He recognizes her


Brillante. Gracias.


Can 'el' be taken as 'it'? Like 'It recognizes her'?


No. We don't translate «it» when it's the subject.


Why not "He knows her"?


Here's a different Duo exercise for the verb conocer:

  • Yo la conozco. = I know her.


I believe reconoce can also be he knows.


reconocer = to recognize


Can't it be, "he recognizes her"?


Why wouldnt it be "él reconoce su" ?


In English we use "her" as both an object pronoun and a possessive pronoun, but in Spanish this is not so. "Su" means her as in "belonging to her" (Su mochila = her book bag,) whereas "ella" can mean both "she" (subject pronoun, as in "Ella es mi amiga - "She is my friend,") and "her" (object pronoun, as in "Yo he visto a ella" - "I have seen her.")


SqueezeboxSarah. I agree with you except for your last sentence which has ella as a direct object and therefore must contain ella's unstressed direct objectform la: "Yo la he visito (a ella)".



Shoot. I should have suspected that. Object pronouns and prepositions have been a constant source of irritation for me in my Spanish-learning quest.


An excellent explanation thank you. I hope I don't forget it. Sven


Would "Él reconoce ella" be like saying "He recognises she" in English?


How does the 'a' tie into this sentence?


I am still unclear what the actual function of the "a" is. Seems like a simple convention that does not add meaning. The "la" functions as the equivalent of the English "her" in the sentence and "ella" clarifies or emphasizes but what doe the "a" do.


The sentence "Él la reconoce" could be either "He recognizes her" or "He recognizes it" in reference to a feminine object. It any given conversation your meaning is going to be clear without "a ella" since it will be obvious whether you mean a human or a thing. However, it's nice to know how to use the "a" to add a clarifier should you ever need to.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Native English speaker - US, Southern Appalachian dialect. Other uses of English may vary. Advice about Spanish should be taken with a grain of salt.


Él la reconoce a ella.☺


Could somebody please explain the whole "a ella" "le"? I usually go with whay feels right but i should learn. Thx!

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