Combined pronouns: everything you need to know

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! Today we are going to talk about combined pronouns as a lot of you have asked me 🙂

I know this is not an easy topic at all, but I will try to be as clear as I can and give you examples to make your learning easier! I recommend you though to grab a cup of coffee as I need your full attention! 😀

Ready? Steady? Go!

Introduction to the combined pronouns

When we use the 3rd person of direct object pronouns LO, LA, LI, and LE together with the indirect object pronouns MI, TI, GLI, CI and VI we are using the combined pronouns.

Dai a me la bottiglia? (Indirect object pronoun)

Mi dai la bottiglia? (Direct object pronun)

Me la dai? (Indirect + Direct object pronouns = combined pronouns)

To understand what the combined pronouns are, you need to know very well what direct and indirect pronouns are.

First of all, remember that the pronoun is the variable part of the speech that is used to replace a noun: I always take the bus. I always take it at 9h (“it” is the pronoun).

The pronoun can be:

  • Personal (io, tu, lui/lei, noi. voi, loro);
  • Possessive (mio, tuo, suo, nostro, etc.);
  • Demonstrative (questo, questa, quelle, etc.);
  • Indefinite (nessuno, alcuni, ognuno, etc.);
  • Interrogative (chi, cosa, quale, etc.);
  • Exclamation (che, quanto, quale, etc.);
  • Relative che, cui, quale etc);
  • Mixed (chi, chiunque, chicchessia etc.).

At this moment we are interested in personal pronouns. Personal pronoun are used instead of a person, animal or thing noun. And they can, in the sentence, replace the subject or the complement of the verb.

Dammi il panino, lo mangerò più tardi.




The combined pronouns are always a personal pronoun complement.



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Direct pronouns

I pronomi complemento can be direct or indirect depending on the verb to which it refers.

I pronomi complemento diretti replace names that complement direct transitive verbs, which are directives related to the verb then, answering questions such as “who?” “What?”

Today I buy the newspaper. (WHAT do I buy today?) The newspaper (name-complement-object).

I call Maria. (WHO do I call?) Maria (name-complement-object).

So, for example: OGGI COMPRO IL GIORNALE, COMPRO IL GIORNALE IN EDICOLA E DOPO LEGGO IL GIORNALE AL BAR. In order not to repeat in each sentence the name-complement-object (newspaper), I replace the name with a pronoun directed in this way: OGGI COMPRO IL GIORNALE, LO COMPRO IN EDICOLA E POI LO  LEGGO AL BAR.

Indirect pronouns

I pronomi complemento indiretti replace nouns that complement indirect transitive verbs, which are related to the verb through the preposition a, answering the question “to whom?”; that is, they perform the term complement function, so they are used when the verb is followed by a.

For example, the verb piacere wants the indirect pronoun almost every time:

Il gelato piace (a chi?? – indirect pronoun).

A me piace studiare Italiano becomes:

Mi piace studiare Italiano.

A te piace studiare Italiano? becomes:

Ti piace studiare Italiano?

A noi non piace studiare Italiano becomes:

Non ci piace studiare l’Italiano.

Combined pronouns

The combined pronouns are formed by pronomi personali diretti to the 3rd person, lo, la, li, le together with the pronomi personali indiretti mi, ti, gli, ci, vi. Mi, ti, ci and vi in front of pronomi diretti become: me, te, ce, ve. Lo, la and li, instead, don’t change.

Even the partitive pronoun NE can be used with indirect pronouns. Also in this case, mi, ti, ci and vi become me, te, ce, ve.

Mi hai dato tre biglietti —> Me ne hai dati tre.

Ti porto quattro cioccolatini —> Te ne porto quattro.

Ci regalano due piante —> Ce ne regalano due.

The combined pronouns are written separately, except for glielo, gliela, glieli, gliele, gliene.


Indirect pronouns precede direct personal pronouns (me lo).

Dai la caramella a me? —> Me la dai?

The singular feminine indirect pronoun LE becomes GLI.

Oggi preparerò una cena a mia madre —> Oggi gliela preparerò.

As well as the pronomi personali complemento (direct and indirect) the pronouns used as combined pronouns come to the same position in the sentence:

  • Before the verb: (with indicative, subjunctive or conditional) and always detached from the verb —> Compro una maglietta a Luisa – Gliela compro.
  • After the verb: (with infinitive, imperative and gerund) and become always a single word with the verb —> Francesca vuole portare una borsa a me – Francesca vuole portarmela.
NOTE: You can choose the position of the combined pronouns – before or after the verbs – when you use modal verbs (poter, volere, dovere).
Voglio regalare un mazzo di fiori a Silvia can become:
  1. Voglio regalarglielo;
  2. Glielo voglio regalare.

Remember, however, to never put the combined pronouns between the verbs:

Voglio glielo regalare is wrong.

Do you feel more confident about the combined pronouns? Studying the theory is only the first step, the next one is exercising a lot!



Eating Out, Italian vocabulary at the restaurant:

Nuovo Espresso: Libro studente 1:

Nuovo Espresso: Esercizi supplementari 1:

Nuovo Espresso: Libro studente 2:

Nuovo Espresso: Esercizi supplementari 2:

Nuovo Espresso: Libro studente 3:

Nuovo Espresso: Libro studente + CD audio 4:

Nuovo Espresso: Libro studente + CD audio 5:

Oxford Essential Italian Dictionary:


Short Stories in Italian for Beginners: Read for pleasure at your level, expand your vocabulary and learn Italian the fun way! (Foreign Language Graded Reader Series):

Italian Short Stories For Intermediate Learners: Eight Unconventional Short Stories to Grow Your Vocabulary and Learn Italian the Fun Way!:

Italian Pocket Puzzles – Food & Drink – Volume 1: A collection of puzzles and quizzes to aid your language learning (Pocket Languages):

Italian Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook (Learn Italian with Teach Yourself): Advanced beginner to upper intermediate course (Tutor Language):

P.S. All the “https://amzn….” links are affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost for you, if you’ll buy some of the products I have recommended you.

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