real quote form a Spanish article: Djokovic: "Llegar a las marcas de Federer y Nadal sería algo increíble" ... Y agregó: "Tengo gran pasión y amor por el deporte, y sólo la alegría que yo encuentro en jugar al tenis, con responsabilidad, me hace seguir adelante y llevar alegría a mí mismo y a los más cercanos". En ese grupo selecto, obviamente, él incluye a su esposa, jelena, y su hijo de ocho meses, Stefan, más el resto de su familia, equipo de trabajo y amigos. ...
(A) isn't strictly true as not all indirect objects require 'a' for 'to' some verbs with indirect objects use another preposition e.g. "con" eg contar con usted, sueño contigo. This has caused problems with fellow students who think there has to be an 'a' squeezed in there as well.
not so weird if you think about it in this context: "He is abroad. He often thinks about his loved ones. In this group of loved ones HE INCLUDES HIS MOTHER." i.e. El incluye a su madre. He does not include her in some present rather in a group or set of persons, characters etc.. See my previous comment on this topic, where I am using an example from a real Spanish article.
I understand it's all about context. The thing is with it being such a short phrase, there was (at least for me) no context to put it in, and I never heard anyone say it before. Thank you for taking the time to further explain it. I learned more than just Spanish today. :)
In the Duolingo sentenses there are no contexts. So this means that that whatever the sentence might could mean applies, and all the possibilities are what needs to learned.
It is a good idea to make up a context for every sentences within one's own mind to help bring a sentence to life and give it meaning and reason to be, like petr did above.
…or hers, or theirs? Only from the context. Since no context is provided here, the most likely interpretation (“his”) would agree with the subject ‘Él’; and the next-most-likely (“your”) would agree with the listener(s), who is|are always implicitly present. Interpreting ‘su’ as “her” or “their” is less likely, but still correct.
Yes, among other things, the presence of the 'a' indicates the target of the action.
This is needed largely because Spanish is quite flexible in the placement of the subject and the direct object. Hence, if the 'a' is not placed there, it becomes quite difficult to know who is performing the action to whom.
For example "A tu madre nunca ves los domingos" and "Nunca ves a tu madre los domingos" both mean "you never see your mother on Sundays". However, the position of tu madre changes in both sentences. Therefore, without the presence of the 'a', it would not be easy to determine that it is the mother who is being seen.
Unlike French, Spanish has a well-defined tense for expressing the gerund form of a verb.
Though you are likely to be understood if you use the present tense to express the continuous tense in Spanish, you should note that that isn't exactly grammatically correct to do so.
I find it confusing in Spanish that even though "su madre" is the direct object of the verb here (i.e. it's in the accusative case), it's still necessary to use the preposition "a" before it. It would be like writing "he includes at his mother" in English. But it only seems to apply to some verbs. Is there any rule or tip to know which verbs require "a"?
The 'a' is not about the verb; it is about the object of the action.
What you're observing here is the Personal A. It has no direct translation into English and that can make it a bit confusing for English speakers.
You can read on it here: http://studyspanish.com/grammar/lessons/persa.