'Lo', that Playboy of the Spanish Language - Learning Spanish, Part 5


At times, learning Spanish makes you feel as if you're in some odd planet where 'lo','le', and 'la' make no sense. You mumble the words hoping that nobody really hears them, and you even cover your mouth pretending to cough. It's enough to make you sneeze and scratch your forehead in utter confusion!


Let's check out a little bit of the mysterious world of 'lo'.


¿Tienes el libro?  Sí, lo tengo.   What does the 'lo' refer to? Here 'lo' is being used as a masculine singular direct object pronoun. Do you have the book? Yes, I have it.


Here's another example of 'lo' being used as a masculine singular direct object pronoun. ¿Conoces a Pedro? Sí, lo conozco.  Do you know Pedro? Yes, I know him.


Want to know a funny thing about 'lo' in the above sentence? You can also use 'le'. Le conozco. In actual fact, what I learned way, way back in the seventies was the use of 'le' referring to both the direct and indirect masculine singular object pronoun. That made life a little bit easier. Lol.


I just knew you'd find that intriguing! It's possibly a regional difference. Here's a nice wee link that goes into the concepts of loísmo and leísmo in more depth in case you fancy a trip deep into the wild world of 'le' and 'lo'. http://blogs.transparent.com/spanish/problems-using-la-le-lo-laismo-leismo-loismo/


Here is Mr. 'lo' being used as the neuter direct object pronoun. ¡Yo sé que tú lo sabes!  I know that you know it. No, yo no lo sé. No, I don't know it.


Here's another example.  Nosotros lo comprendemos. We understand it.


Hmm. That sentence could also mean 'we understand him', couldn't it? If you use 'lo' for both him and it, then context becomes very important.


Now, what's going on with this 'lo'? Lo que a mí me interesa hacer hoy es ir de compras.  
He's gone and got himself a buddy. Amigo 'que' has wandered in, and he's not about to leave. How annoying. In English we don't need this 'lo'. Nope. We can say, "What I'm interested in doing today is to go shopping." You just know things are more complicated in Spanish! Think of 'lo que' as meaning 'that which'.


Here's another example of lo que''.  Lo que pasó es que  Ana se despertó muy tarde. What happened is that Ana woke up very late. ( I wonder what else happened? Was she late for work? Did she miss her flight? Pobre Ana.)


'Lo' can have other buddies besides 'que'.  Here he is with 'bueno'.
Lo bueno de estudiar mucho es que sacarás buenas notas.  The good thing about studying a lot is that you'll get good grades.


And here he is with 'malo'
Lo malo de no ahorrar dinero es que no podré comprarme una casa bonita.  Can you guess what 'lo malo' means in English?


As you can see 'lo' is not only the masculine singular direct object pronoun for 'it', 'lo' is also the neuter definite object. But who really cares what he’s called?!


Here is 'lo' sneaking into the land of discussions and beliefs.


Lo de Ana es que siempre se preocupa demasiado. The thing about Ana is she always worries too much.


Lo de las guerras es que nadie en realidad gana. The thing about wars is that in reality nobody wins.


This 'lo' fellow certainly is very fit as he creeps around ready to pounce and surprise you. Here he comes again in different expressions.


Por lo visto              Apparently
Por lo pronto           For now
A lo mejor                 Probably


They simply just use 'lo'. End of that story. Golleee. I'm happy that I don't have to think and wonder too much about the use of 'lo' with these expressions.

Regardless, if you want my opinion, this Mr. lo would be considered a hussy, a complete trollop, if he were a 'la' and not a 'lo'. He just keeps on popping up here, there and everywhere. What a playboy! Is there no loyalty in words? Can't a word just be, just simply mean what it ought to mean? Is there nothing a word will stoop to in order to be used? I rest my case, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.


TAREA (Homework)


Finish the following in complete sentences. Imagination is required!


Lo bueno de vivir en España_____________________________________
Lo malo de no saber cocinar_____________________________________
Lo de Pedro es que ____________________________________________
A lo mejor yo__________________________________________________

Can you guess what ‘sabelotodo’ means?