Contracted masculine singular articles: al and del

In Spanish, to express to the / in the + masculine singular noun (a + el), you use the contraction al.

The same happens with the preposition de + el (from the / of the) which becomes del.

Look at these examples:

Los estudiantes dan los deberes al profesor.
The students give their homework to the teacher.

Nosotros vamos siempre al mismo restaurante.
We always go to the same restaurant.

Voy a comprar al mercado.
I'm going shopping in the market.

Granada es una ciudad del sur de España.
Granada is a city in the south of Spain. (Lit: from/of the south)

El Gobierno aumentará el presupuesto del Ministerio de Cultura.
The Government will increase the budget of the Ministry of Culture.

Ellos vienen del cine.
They've come from the cinema.

Note that in the example about the city of Granada we are using "del" because we mean "Granada is a city of the south of Spain", (that "belongs" to the south of Spain) but this wouldn't be correct in English.

You never use these contractions when the article el is part of a proper noun (place, work of art, book, etc.)

El avión despegó del aeropuerto de El Salvador.
The plane took off from El Salvador airport.

La noticia aparece en la portada de El Tiempo de Bogotá.
The news is on the cover of El Tiempo de Bogotá.

Los turistas fueron a El Escorial.
The tourists went to El Escorial.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nosotros vamos siempre al mismo restaurante.
We always go to the same restaurant.


Voy a comprar al mercado.
I'm going shopping in the market.


Granada es una ciudad del sur de España.
Granada is a city in the south of Spain. (Lit: from/of the south)


El avión despegó del aeropuerto de El Salvador.
The plane took off from El Salvador airport.


La noticia aparece en la portada de El Tiempo de Bogotá.
The news is on the cover of El Tiempo de Bogotá.


Ellos vienen del cine.
They've come from the cinema.


Los estudiantes dan los deberes al profesor.
The students give their homework to the teacher.


Los turistas fueron a El Escorial.
The tourists went to El Escorial.


El Gobierno aumentará el presupuesto del Ministerio de Cultura.
The Government will increase the budget of the Ministry of Culture.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 4 answers

BoA1Kwiziq community member

al or el

Tenemos que atender ________ cliente amablemente. We have to serve the client in a friendly manner.How can that be anything but "el"?
Asked 8 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Bo

There are verbs in Spanish that require preposition "a" when they have a direct object that is a person or something referring to people (e.g cliente) which is this case. This is called the "personal a". However I can see that this question can be confusing because there is no way to see that from the translation so I will change it.

Un saludo

Inma

al or el

Tenemos que atender ________ cliente amablemente. We have to serve the client in a friendly manner.How can that be anything but "el"?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

BoA1Kwiziq community member

Are you not contradicting yourself?

In Spanish, to express to the / in the + masculine singular noun (a + el), you use the contraction al.

Granada es una ciudad del sur de España.

Granada is a city in the south of Spain.
Asked 8 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Bo

As translations for AL and DEL we give in the lesson "in the/to the" and "from the/of the" respectively. However, when you are talking about where a city is located or to which country/continent it belongs to, we use "del", which is what we are doing in this sentence about Granada. However, despite using "del" in Spanish, the translation in English will be "in", not "from" or "of". If we translated it literally we'd have to say in English "Granada is a city from/of the south of Spain" and that doesn't work. 

I will add a note about that in the lesson.

Gracias y saludos

Inma

Are you not contradicting yourself?

In Spanish, to express to the / in the + masculine singular noun (a + el), you use the contraction al.

Granada es una ciudad del sur de España.

Granada is a city in the south of Spain.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

SherriA1Kwiziq community member

I think the question is ambiguous. Isn't "Esta bicicleta pertenece al vecino" correct?

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Sherri,

Yes, you are right. This sentence: "Esta bicicleta pertenece al vecino" is also correct for "This bike belongs to the neighbour". However we used this one which means the same: "Esta bicicleta es del vecino", which means literally "This bike is the neighbour's" and here it needs a "de +el" = del. 

I hope this helped.

Inma

I think the question is ambiguous. Isn't "Esta bicicleta pertenece al vecino" correct?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

CarolA1Kwiziq community member

I notice you use "deberes" for homework. I learned tarea. Is this regional or interchangeable?

Asked 1 year ago
SilviaKwiziq team member
¡Hola Carol! Both words are interchangeable and can be used equally for "homework". Just bear in mind that the gender and number change -masculine plural for "deberes" and feminine singular for "tarea". ¡Hasta pronto! Silvia

I notice you use "deberes" for homework. I learned tarea. Is this regional or interchangeable?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Getting that for you now.