translation - meaning of example


Kwiziq community member

12 January 2019

2 replies

translation - meaning of example

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.

Help please!

This question relates to:
Spanish lesson "Repetition of indirect object pronouns with verbs (general)"


Kwiziq language super star

12 January 2019


Hola Papi,

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.

Un saludo



Kwiziq community member

13 January 2019


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.     

and /or  

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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