Learning to "Think in Reverse"
In the example, “Bill lo ve," we see that lo (him) precedes ve (see). So the Spanish learner has to get used to a sort of "reverse syntax." But with practice it becomes more natural as we begin to consider the objective pronoun as part of the “verb unit." Not so fast, though--there is more to learn. Sometimes the object pronouns follow the verb form. It all depends on how the verb is conjugated in the sentence.
Here is a list of object pronoun placement rules that apply to both indirect and direct objects:
1. Place object pronouns before the conjugated (non-infinitive) form of the verb:
Pablo nos llamó por teléfono. (Pablo called us on the telephone.) (Indirect object)
Siempre las veo en la iglesia. (I always see them [fem.] in Church.) (Direct object)
2. If the verb is in the infinitive, you can either attach the object pronoun to the end of the infinitive or place it before the conjugated verb that accompanies the infinitive. It sounds more complicated than it is. Note the following examples:
Debes prestarle el dinero. (or Le debes prestar el dinero.) (We should lend him the money.) (Indirect object)
Voy a hacerlo mañana. (or Lo voy a hacer mañana.) (I am going to do it tomorrow.) (Direct object)
3. If the verb is progressive (the -ing or gerund), the same rules as for the infinitive apply:
Está dándoles el dinero. (or Les está dándo el dinero.) (He is giving them the money) (Indirect object)
Está buscándolas por el parque. (Las está buscando por el parque.) (He is looking for them [fem.] in the park.) (Direct object)
Note the placement of the accent mark on the progressive form. It maintains the verb syllable stress.