This project contrastively analyzes dative constructions in European Spanish and Portuguese. I will concentrate on cases where the dative represents a possessor (‘LE lavo las manos’ = I wash his hands) or a beneficiary (‘LE hice una tarta’ = I made a cake for him). Possessors and beneficiaries can also be expressed by other constructions (they are said to ‘alternate’, resp. ‘Lavo SUS manos’ with a possessive pronoun and ‘Hice una tarta PARA ÉL’ where the preposition ‘para’ introduces the beneficiary). I will investigate, from a corpus-based and cognitive-functional perspective, to what extent and under which conditions speakers of both languages make use of these alternating constructions.