I am confused about the translation for a section of this exercise. That section is: "I like King Baltazar". For this, I wrote "A mí me gusta al Rey Baltasar", but the corrected answer/translation was presented as "A mí me gusta el rey Baltasar". I thought the preposition "a" needed to be inserted after use of gusta if the reference was to a person (in this case "rey Baltasar" --- lower case in "rey" notwithstanding). Apparently, I am wrong. Could you please explain why "el" and not "al" was correct?
Freeform Writing Exercise A1
It’s because the order is reversed with gustar and this changes the place where we use the personal “a”. Normally, we would use the following order in a sentence: Dijo consejos a mi hermana (She gave advice to my sister). But we can reverse this order and write: A mi hermana dijo consejos. This is the order we use with gustar. The order of A mi me gusta el rey Baltazar is reversed. The forwards order would be El rey Baltazar gusta a mí (King Baltazar pleases me). Then we can see that the personal “a” is in the correct place, in the phrase “a mí”.
Marcos is right about the inverted order with gustar and similar verbs, however, I'd like to clarify something about the personal a. You may be thinking of the transitive verbs that need "a" when the direct object is a person (or related to a person); gustar is not a transitive verb, therefore there is no direct object. That "a mí" is an indirect object where you need to use "a + pronoun", and the subject of the sentence is "el rey Baltasar"; so, as Marcos said this is:
The King Baltasar is pleasing to me. (so that you see the different elements of the sentence)
You can see here how you can't use "al rey" but it needs to be "el rey..." because it is the subject.
With reference to the lower case in "rey", the norm is to write titles like king, queen, prince, princess... in lower case, not capital letter.
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