Personal "a" verbs (ver, visitar, buscar, conocer)

In Spanish there are some transitive verbs (verbs that have a direct object) and depending on if the object is inanimate (a thing) or animate (a person), the verb works slightly different.

Have a look at these examples:

Yo veo la televisión todos los días.
I watch television everyday.

Yo veo a Miguel todos los días.
I see Miguel everyday.

Notice how in the first example where the object is a thing (la televisión) there is no preposition "a" between the verb and the object. However in the second example, the object is a person (Miguel), therefore the verb needs preposition "a" before the object.

Let's see other verbs that need the preposition "a":

Visitar (to visit)

¿Váis a visitar La Sagrada Familia este sábado?
Are you going to visit La Sagrada Familia this Saturday?

¿Váis a visitar a la abuela este sábado?
Are you visiting grandma this Saturday?

Notice how in the second example visitar needs preposition "a" as the direct object is a person (la abuela).

 Buscar (to look for)

Estamos buscando una farmacia para comprar paracetamol.
We are looking for a chemist to buy some paracetamol.

Estamos buscando a mi gata Lulu. Ha desaparecido.
We are looking for my cat Lulu. She has vanished.

Notice how on the second example buscar needs preposition "a" as the direct object is a pet (mi gata).

 Conocer (to know)

¿Conoces esa canción tan pegadiza de Luis Fonsi?
Do you know that catchy song by Luis Fonsi?

¿Conoces a mi primo Gerardo?
Do you know my cousin Gerardo?

Notice how in the second example conocer needs the preposition "a" as the direct object is the speaker's cousin.

You will also find a "personal a" in front of indefinite pronouns which refer to people (e.g alguien, nadie...)

¿Habéis visto a alguien por la calle esta mañana?
Have you seen anyone in the street this morning?

No conozco a nadie de Noruega.
I don't know anyone from Norway.

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

¿Váis a visitar a la abuela este sábado?
Are you visiting grandma this Saturday?


¿Conoces esa canción tan pegadiza de Luis Fonsi?
Do you know that catchy song by Luis Fonsi?


Yo veo a Miguel todos los días.
I see Miguel everyday.


¿Conoces a mi primo Gerardo?
Do you know my cousin Gerardo?


Yo veo la televisión todos los días.
I watch television everyday.


Estamos buscando a mi gata Lulu. Ha desaparecido.
We are looking for my cat Lulu. She has vanished.


Estamos buscando una farmacia para comprar paracetamol.
We are looking for a chemist to buy some paracetamol.


¿Habéis visto a alguien por la calle esta mañana?
Have you seen anyone in the street this morning?


¿Váis a visitar La Sagrada Familia este sábado?
Are you going to visit La Sagrada Familia this Saturday?


No conozco a nadie de Noruega.
I don't know anyone from Norway.


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