Although we have just one way of saying “it” in English, in Spanish there are various ways of saying “it” and sometimes there is no specific word used at all. In this article we will look at the different ways to express “it” in Spanish depending on the type of sentence and whether “it” is the subject, a direct object of the verb or of a preposition.
• If “it” is the subject of the sentence, you do not need any specific word, you just pick the third person singular form of the verb:
It is raining. = Llueve.
It begins. = Empieza.
It is important. = Es importante.
• If “it” is the direct object of a verb in the sentence it normally goes before the verb and the pronoun “it” will vary depending on whether it is referring to a masculine or feminine noun or a neutral form if you don’t know what it is.
Lo tengo = I have it. (“lo” refers to a masculine singular object, e.g. “el libro”, “the book”)
La tengo = I have it. (“la” refers to a feminine singular object, e.g. “la llave”, “the key”)
¿Lo sabes? = Do you know it? (The neutral form when you are not referring to any object or if you do not know what the item is.)
• As the object of a preposition (which is a joining word; para, con, sin, de, hasta, por, a): again this will depend on whether the object is either masculine or feminine:
[masculine form]: “él”:
Me encanta mi móvil, no puedo sobrevivir sin él.
I love my mobile phone, I can’t survive without it.
[feminine form]: “ella”:
Voy a una fiesta esta noche. Necesito comprar una botella de vino para ella.
I’m going to a party tonight. I need to buy a bottle of wine for it.
[neutral form]: “ello”: If you don’t know what is being referred to or it is not an object, you use “ello”. (You could also use “eso” “that” here.)
Me enfadé con mi mejor amigo. No quiero hablar de ello.
I got angry with my best friend. I don’t want to talk about it.
Es tan triste. No puedo pensar en ello.
It’s so sad. I cannot think about it.