hello @frankshifreen, excellent question. In this case, el is an article on the direct object. some classes of verbs require the article to be there. the two classes you should know about are emotions, and causative/influencing verbs. Aumentar is in the latter category. an example of the former category is: me gustan los gatos, even here “los” is required. I hope this is of help to you or anyone else with the same question.