"Él ayuda a la familia."

Translation:He helps the family.

January 28, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Anyone know why the 'a' is there? If it's a personal a, can you explain what a personal a is and when to use it?

June 20, 2013


SpanishSpeaker32, here is a link about the personal A.


The personal A doesn't really translate into English. It's used before an object when the object is a person (with a few exceptions of course.) This can be pretty helpful because Spanish subjects and objects can go at the beginning and end of a sentence. Word order wont determine who's the subject and who's the object. The personal A helps point out who is receiving the action.

July 24, 2013


The best general rules for me to follow from that website you provided was this: * In Spanish, when the direct object is a person, it is preceded by the preposition "a." The personal "a" may also be used if the direct object is a domesticated animal, especially a pet. If the direct object is not a person or pet there is no prepositional "a". Esta sección me ayudo mucho, gracias MissSpell.

September 27, 2014


spanishspeaker- As family is representative of persons, you use the personal A. Another exemple, iglesia and Iglesia, the first one is the church, the building. The second, with the capital letter, is the organisation/institution of the religion. Admiro la iglesia, no personal A, I admire the church, the building. Admiro A la Iglesia, I'm telling that I admire the institution of the chuch, the religion. So, it implies that in the institution, there are people behind IT. I hope my English is ok to help you understand.

April 30, 2014


Hi mitaine56, thanks for posting this. It's very helpful. I'm still a little confused however. In my previous question I was incorrect because i translated 'He knows women' as 'Él conoce a mujeres'. Since 'women' is representative of a group of people shouldn't this be correct by your above logic? How is that use of 'a' different from your church institution example? Muchas gracias,

March 26, 2015


limbo- here's a link for Personal A. there's a sentence similar as yours, but with abuelos/grandparents. http://www.drlemon.com/Grammar/personala.html

March 26, 2015


Muchas gracias por su ayuda! :)

March 26, 2015


limb0- personal a is for animated nouns, women is one of those. Maybe it's because you forgot the definite article : Él conoce a las mujeres.

March 26, 2015


To add what other people have said, personal "a" is used with people, domesticated animals as well as geographical places. Exceptions to geographical places are places that already have "la", "el", "los", or "las" in front of them. For example, 'miro las Bahamas' has no personal "a". But 'miro a mexico' does.

December 28, 2014


Why didn't she say "al". Am I correct in thinking that al = a + la?

June 22, 2015


You only contract with "el", not "la".
a + el = al
a + la = a la (no contraction)
de + el = del
de + la = de la (no contraction)

June 24, 2015


Why is it "a la familia" instead of just "la familia?"

December 20, 2013


schlenkerm- because when the complement is about people or animals, personal A

November 3, 2014


I answered:"He helps with the family." Why wasn't this acceptable?

April 26, 2014


For it to mean that, the word con (with) would've had to be in the sentence

June 3, 2014
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