1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "Ella le lee un libro a él."

"Ella le lee un libro a él."

Translation:She reads him a book.

December 15, 2012

98 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Allinuse

Isn't "Ella lee un libro a él" sufficient?

June 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheLibrarian

No. The sentence is grammatically incorrect. Look at the English translation of your sentence to have a better understanding:

"She reads a book to he"

The sentence is grammatically incorrect because "él" is a subject pronoun (subject pronoun references a thing that is performing an action) when in fact, an object pronoun is needed (object pronoun references a thing that is having an action performed upon it). The "he" being referenced in this sentence is having an action performed upon him, so the word that references him must be an object pronoun. "le" is an object pronoun, and it is necessary for this sentence to be grammatically correct. "a él" is unnecessary, though it can be used to clarify the gender of the indirect object pronoun "le".

"Ella le lee un libro" - This is sufficient, though the gender of the indirect object pronoun "le" is ambiguous. Adding "a él" would simply clarify that it is a male being referenced by "le".

September 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eshewan

'él' 'ella' 'usted' 'ellos' and 'ellas' can also be prepositional object pronouns, though in that case they are not preceded be 'a' ex."Corrieron hacia él." (They ran towards him)

Not sure if this adds much to the discussion, just thought it worth pointing out ;)

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

Thank you for bringing that up, as the tips and notes by Duolingo do not mention objects of a preposition. I'm native English speaker, German as a second language - in both those languages, we could not use the subject pronoun as the object of a preposition. One cannot say "to he" or "zu er". I was surprised (and confused) to see the subject pronoun (él) used with a preposition. Duolingo should have included something about that in the tips and notes.

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/irene121212

Where can i find "tips and notes" ?

March 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

If you are using a computer, and you click on a node in the course tree, then you see square boxes for the lessons in that section. Under the lesson boxes are the "tips and notes" for the subject covered in that node. I have not found these in the mobile version (iPhone).

March 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martha482614

Whetr do you find tips and notes on Duolingo?

January 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PitchPine1

so él can be him or he depending

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AwkwardCactus

It does, I was wondering about that. Thank you.

February 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eshewan

This may be the best explanation of the necessity of IO pronouns I've seen yet! Bravo!

December 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maylee426

As a native spanish speaker I happen to agree with you.

December 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaddyJohn

Thank you, that reply is most helpful. Have a Lingot.

August 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Natz_

You are awesome. Just brought some clarity to my seriously muddled brain. Thank you!

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadisonRiv3

Perfect explanation, thank you!

October 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjrobbo

Brilliant explanation, it's now finally starting to make sense.

However "Ella lee un libro a él" still seems to give me the information that I need to work out what is being said, and this is why i've always found it so confusing.

Is it only grammatically incorrect or does that phrase, without the object pronoun, actually mean something different?

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MattPotter4

a él does not stand on its own, it must tell you what the ´le´is standing for (That is, you are not saying the same thin twice. The ´le´ is necessary and sufficient for the sentence without any clarification. Though the sentence is complete the ´a él´ can be used to tell you who the indirect object is that the sentence is referring).

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BridgetteJ19

Excellent explanation chad! Very thorough and easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time to write this up!

August 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neptune

Yes, this is a great explanation. Have another Lingot, you've earned it.! Thank you.

February 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColinOates1

Brilliant explanation! Very helpful!

May 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/romthree

This is really helpful, thanks.

July 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShanHoward

Thank you so much! I was very confused before I read this, but now I know how to use object pronouns and clarify gender.

July 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertoDia578875

Thanks. Very clearly explained.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KomlanEgoh

Thanks for this explanation. I wasn't getting it until I read your comment. Thanks.

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/billy8195

I need to learn to write something so well that I get 13 lingots like TheLibrarian did... :p

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acrim0ny

I agree with you. More so because it's 32 now.

February 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BClaw5

I second that question. Can anybody help explain this to us?

June 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katurra79

In Spanish we use to repeat the indirect object in a sentence. So these are the options:

Ella le lee un libro a Juan

Ella le lee un libro a él

Ella le lee un libro (if we know by context the person affected by the action)

"le" and "Juan/ a él", both refers to him.

Ella lee un libro a él (without using "le") would not be correct, although I can understand the sentence perfectly.

September 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thebreef

This is really tricky for me to remember. In English and my language, dutch, i would leave "le" out and suffice with "a el". Ella lee un libro a el. I will have to stretch myself to do this right in the future.

March 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TilEulenspiegel

So, the "le" is necessary despite the "a el" at the end of the sentence? I think I'm going to have to go to a source outside of DuoLingo to understand this element of Spanish grammar.

March 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talca

The use of the indirect object pronoun ("le," in the sentence--Ella le lee un libro a él.--but also te, se, les, nos ) along with an object of a preposition (él) is one of the tougher Spanish grammar rules to master, if your first language is English. Other examples: A mi me dieron el dinero. They gave me the money. A Paco le diro el libro. He gave Paco the book. HERE IS THE TRICKY PART: If the object of the preposition is NOT a personal pronoun, and it appears after the verb, the indirect object pronoun is optional. Por ejemplo: Dieron el dinero a mi madre. They gave the money to my mother. Dio el libro a Paco. He gave the book to Paco. [Obviously, the indirect pronouns not used in these two sentences.] OR 1) Le di el collar a la chica. 2) Di el collar a la chica. (Both are correct, but the first is more common). Otro ejemplo: 3)Le doy las flores a Maria. 4) Doy las flores a Maria. (First example more common).

April 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Llarona

Talca, I think the literal translation is "She to him reads a book (to him)."

January 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lastnightilie

Question... has anyone ever heard a native Spanish speaker say something like this or read it or heard it in Spanish-speaking media? I find it hard to believe anyone would write this way but if it's definitely correct I will try to wrap my head around it.

May 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maylee426

I'm a native spanish speaker from Dominican Republic and yes we do use this.

December 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MohamedAbd786473
  • The IO tells us where the DO is going. The IO answers the question "to whom" or "for whom. The IO pronouns are: me, te, le, nos, os, les. Place the pronoun before the conjugated verb. Think in phrases, do not translate word-for-word.

*Prepositional phrases are often used for clarity and for emphasis.

July 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mark-oh9

Isn't le and a él a repetition and isn't le sufficient?

December 15, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/defpub

check the "tips and notes"...it seems that since you can use le for you/him/it/you, 'a él' resolves the ambiguity about to whom the book is read.

Imagine if there were four people, the speaker, the reader, and two possible listeners (male and female). Saying "Ella le lee un libro" doesn't indicate which person she is reading the book to. "Ella le lee un libro a él" does.

December 19, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluemarimba

That's a great way to explain it, defpub

July 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlliBakes

Thank you for the explanation! Also, when you say check the "tips and notes." Is this a section on the site or do you mean the info that appears when you mouse over?

September 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kama410

You have to go to the DL website. Sadly it isn't in the app at all. (In case you haven't been to the actual website, there are a lot of things there that aren't in the phone app.)

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John687665

Why is "she reads a book to him" incorrect?

April 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaspet

How would you say "she reads his book"?

February 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theartoflogic

I would think it would be:

Ella lee el libro de él.

February 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rspreng

Yep. That is "She reads his book."

February 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talca

O "Ella lee su libro."

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BerardoVen

Could it also be, "Ella lee su libro"?

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaspet

Thank you both

February 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

She reads his book is completely different from she reads the book to him.

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leannefordy

despite repeated attempts at this it would not accept my pronunciation which was not dissimilar to that of the example. had to give up and skip which is annoying.

February 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

I have had similar experiences. It could be my accent - or it could be an inadequacy in the voice recognition or the quality of the microphone. Surprisingly, my iPhone understands my Spanish much better than my MacBook does. I finally gave up using the microphone at all because I wasted too much time trying to make my phone or my computer understand me.

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjduncan2

Wow, congrats on your almost 600 day streak!!

March 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HansNoor

This sentence is so funny, it is like a tongue twister to me

February 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arunkumar90

I was given translation and I wrote 'She reads TO him a book.' It was marked wrong! I'll send a feedback.

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cyberboy64

I love Calvin and hobbes (Your profile picture).

March 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephArma8

I really don't understand the structure

August 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arturo__Fuente

She reads him a book to him.

August 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Malawi89

Why is "she reads a book to him" wrong? In English it is indistinguishable from "she reads him a book"

May 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kacrellin

After reading all the comments, am I correct in concluding that "She reads him a book" = "Ella le lee un libro a él" and "She reads a book to him" = "Ella lee un libro a él". That seems to clarify things for me.

July 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talca

Kacrellin, Sorry, but you're confused. "Ella lee un libro a el." is incorrect. The indirect pronoun LE must appear before the verb.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eshewan

Even if that's accurate (I have no idea, sadly), I still see no difference between the two :( If you need to specify that it's a male person she's reading to, why would you still include the "le"? It looks like "She reads to him/her/you a book to him." I hope I'm missing something

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TilEulenspiegel

Either "Ella le lee un libro" or "Ella le lee un libro a (insert a man's name or a masculine pronoun here)" is grammatically correct, but the "le" before the verb must always be included, regardless whether the person being read to is specifically identified after the verb.

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maylee426

You would still have "le" in there if you said El le lee un libro a ella. Or something silly as "La gata le lee un libro a ella."( the female cat reads a book to her).

December 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CARUSO68

So.. word by word.. it's translated to: She reads him a book (to him) so,the ''to him'' part is to assure that the person listening to the reading is a HE. Male. OK so what if the listener is a she? would le be la and él be élla?

December 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katurra79

"le" is used for him and her. The rest of the pronouns are:

Ella ME lee un libro (a mí) :she reads me a book / Ella TE lee un libro (a ti) :she reads you a book (informal you) / Ella LE lee un libro (a él) : she reads him a book / Ella LE lee un libro (a ella) :she reads her a book / Ella LE lee un libro (a usted) : she read you a book (formal you) / Ella NOS lee un libro (a nosotros/nosotras) : she reads us a book / Ella LES lee un libro (a ellos) : she reads them a book (male they) / Ella LES lee un libro (a ellas) : she reads them a book (female they) / Ella LES lee un libro (a ustedes) : she reads you a book (plural you, you all) /

The LE and LES pronouns are used for 3 different subjects that is why we tend to specify by adding "a él", "a ella", "a usted". If by the context, we are certain that we are talking about "him" or "her", we don't need to use the "a él/ella" part. For the rest of the subjects, we do not need to add "a mí" "a ti" etc. as it is clear, unless we want to put more emphasis in the message. For example: La abuela me dio un dulce (Grandma gave me a candy) vs La abuela me dio los dulces a mí, no a ti (Grandma gave the candies to me, not to you). I'm not sure about the accurate translation into English as I'm a native speaker of Spanish.

December 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hardingr

My thanks to the contributors here for giving me some insight into a construction that has always made my head hurt.

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_APP

Thank you. I had believed that Spanish would have personal pronoun with genders like le, la in French. So in Spanish there is only le and it can represent a female as well as a male.

July 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MagsGingles

I think I am correct...but I got it wrong

May 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

Your sentence "She will read a book to him" is in the future tense. This sentence is in present tense. It has to be "She reads" not "She will read."

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TigerRoar1

Shouldn't “Ella le lee un libro" be enough? Or is it that by adding "a él" it is to denote that the le means a male?

May 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talca

You're correct. Ella le lee un libro. could be translated three ways: She reads a book to it. She reads a book to her. She reads a book to him. But with the "a el" we know she is reading to a male person.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JSRyding

why is 'a él' needed?

November 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Talca

Only to clarify that the person she is reading to is a male person. See above for more explanation.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dillman87

Why does it have le lee and not just lee ? Can someone explain this to me , thanks

December 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a1b3rt_e

"She reads one book to him" is evaluated as wrong?

How is it different from the right answer "She reads a book to him"?

February 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AveryHD

”Ella le lee a el” does this mean ella reads to him?

February 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/disctwirls

she reads a book for him

March 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AveryHD

How would you say "she reads to him" without using "el"?

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vytah

I think it's ella le lee un libro

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AveryHD

Yeah that should be it. I asked this question when I just started to get into I.O and D.O in Spanish. It definitely takes a little getting used to for non-native speakers.

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vytah

I'm answering even old questions, so people who come later and have those questions too won't have to wait for answers.

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/estrellademar37

She him she reads a book to him. I have read the explanations on why this works, I understand that the sentence structure is different than the English translation, but my brain still is having trouble wrapping it's thick self around this object pronoun rubbish. It is so strange and even though I try to just accept it even though it is so odd to me ,my brain keeps wanting to reorganize the sentence into the way it would be in English. I'm so discouraged, I've never been more stuck than I am with this concept! I've been working at it for months and it still throws me for a loop.

April 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anapeachey

y le nd lee?thnx m8's help a bruva out ere

April 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OrioC

I see le being used for 'him' but also interchangeably with lo. Can they both refer to persons, or inanimate objects?

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/johndelemos

As a someone who also studies French, I thought that putting 'a él' is bit redundant. We would've just said 'Elle lui lis un livre' and lui could mean him or her. But I'm really starting to like Spanish because it actually makes an effort to be more specific, the pronunciation is more straightforward (less silent letters), and I feel like it's more efficient (you can say 'soy' instead of 'yo soy').

June 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/johndelemos

Elle lui lit*

June 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mercey2014

based on the 'tips & notes' 'le' means 'to him/her/it'...so how come 'she reads to him a book' wrong?

October 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/territech

"She reads to him a book" is an unnatural word order in English. It would be understood, and I see no grammatical error in it; however, present-day native English speakers would say "She reads a book to him" or "she reads him a book." The important thing is that you did understand what the Spanish sentence meant.

March 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maardal1

Can you say Ella leerLE un libra a el ?

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Reagan101634

First time I have used all blocks

January 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amelia_gd

So could I have written 'Ella lo lee un libro a el' ? As this is also a male object pronoun. Does it depend on the verb, as in this case we're using 'leer' which is a verb you can do to someone (i.e. read to) so by saying 'le lee' we're saying 'reads TO him' instead of 'lo lee' which would mean 'read him'.

Sorry if that sounds really confusing, just trying to explain my confused thoughts!

February 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric282165

Christ on a cracker this language is infuriatingly complex in all the stupidest places. As a native English speaker I'm glad i never actually have to learn Spanish. Or any other language really... I'm gonna go drink my mayonnaise champagne and enjoy my avocado toast. Later plebians.

May 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steffibenji

Why is a le added? Is it absolutely necessary?

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mango33133

Why cant it be she reads a book to him?

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OrmieF

So confusing

September 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/travisb23

Could this not be "Ella le lee un libro." Or does the a él determine who the "le" refers to?

January 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leo416977

i hate this thing

February 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenjaminGe381767

Please add a "to" to this word group. "She reads a book to him" should be an acceptable input.

February 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cyberboy64

How do you know if its, she reads a book. Or, she reads him a book? Help plz.

March 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cyberboy64

I'll try to give you a lingot. 3 of em'

March 14, 2018
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.