When to use AL and when to use DEL?
Struggling a little bit with when to use AL and when to use DEL. Take for example the following two sentences:
No veo al perro.
Camina cerca del caballo.
My guess is that AL is used when the verb is acting on the object and that DEL is used when there is no direct relationship?
Hi, Oddible. There's a grammatical elephant in the room that no one has noticed: the use of "del" here has nothing to do with the verb. Rather, it's because the preposition "cerca" carries the preposition "de" when it's followed by something else. E.g., "El caballo está cerca," but "Estoy cerca del caballo." Consider this: "Veo al caballo cerca del perro."
AL is a contraction for "a el" (but not for "a él"), so it means "to the". DEL is the contraction for "de el", so it means "of the". In the case of "No veo al perro", we use the contraction because of the personal "a". You would say "no veo el carro" (no personal "a").
Per: if we don't use the "personal a", the two example sentences would be: "no veo el perro" and "camina cerca del caballo". I don't want to get too technical, but "ver" is a transitive verb; it requires a direct object. "Caminar" is intransitive; it cannot have a direct or indirect object. When a direct object is a person or is an animal and we have some feelings for that animal (as in a pet), we use the personal "a", so, in our example, "el" becomes "al". We don't use the personal "a" with prepositional objects.