A su vecino le robaron la moto el otro día.
(Le) robaron la moto el otro día a su vecino.
They stole his neighbour's bike the other day.
My brain wants to translate this as:
The other day they stole the bike for his neighbor. (su=his, her, your, its, their)
My point being that I think of the indirect object pronoun (le) as to/for him/her your/it
The word "for" being the key point that confuses me in this case, I would guess.
I would think the sentence would use "de" and be "Robaron el moto el otro día de su vecino." and not have the indirect object pronoun.
In Spanish we say "robar algo a alguien" (literally to steal something TO someone). That "le" is referring to whoever is being robbed (the victim). In Spanish the person being robbed would be an indirect object in the sentence. It is a bit tricky to see because verbs to rob or to steal don't work the same way in English. We do use the indirect object pronouns (me, te, le, nos, os, les) to refer to the person who is being robbed. These are some more simpler sentences:
El ladrón me robó la bicicleta. ( literally "The thief stole me the bike")
El ladrón le robó a ella el bolso. (literally "The thief stole her the handbag.)
(in this second sentence "le" and "a ella" are both referring to "to her")
I hope this clarifies your doubt.
OK. Thank you.
So, I get it, but for a little more understanding, then would/could I say:
Para mí a su vecino le robaron la moto el otro día.
to mean: They stole his neighbors bike the other day for me.
Would I need a comma after para mí?
If I wanted to add the subject pronoun of the verb (Ellos robaron) where would it go?
Would it be?: Para mí ellos a su vecino le robaron la moto el otro día.
One more thing.
Can the direct object pronoun still be used to replace the bike? If so, what does that look like with the use of le la. Does it still turn to se la?
Para mí ellos a su vecino se la robaron.
Ellos se la robaron a su vecino para mí.
Just trying to wrap it around my head a little better. Thank you for your patience!
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When you say:
to mean: They stole his neighbours bike the other day for me.
I am not sure what you mean by "for me" in this sentence. It wouldn't make sense to add "para mí" in Spanish here.
When you said before that "le" can be translated into "to him/her", or "for him/her", or simply "him/her", you mustn't think of preposition por/para in Spanish. The use of preposition for is only in English and not in all cases. Here are other examples:
Le robé el dinero ( I stole his money, but more literally in "I robbed him the money"
Le compré unas flores (I bought her some flowers, or I bought some flowers for her)
¡No le gastes bromas! (Don't play tricks on him)
La madre le puso el abrigo a su hijo (The mum did her son's coat or more literally "The mum put the coat on her son")
In all these sentences we have a direct object (dinero, flores, bromas) and an indirect object (le). You need to think of "le" as the person who benefits from the action or gets affected by the action. Sometimes this will be "him/her" but other times "to him/her" or "for him/her" or even "on him/her".
There is also a more specific lesson on this same content but only related to verbs like gustar. Repetition of indirect object pronouns with verbs like gustar
Un saludo cordial
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