https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oddible

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?

June 24, 2012

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvoViejo

Sorry, per.fagrell, The only reason for the "a" in "al perro" is because the dog is an animate object, a pet. It needs the "personal a". In the example, horse is not an indirect object. It's the object of a preposition.

June 24, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oddible

So it seems the answer is that one is that "al" applies to predicate objects and "del" applies to prepositional objects (in the case that it follows verbs and isn't possessive of course).

June 25, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raymond17

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."

June 29, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvoViejo

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").

June 24, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/per.fagrell

The dog is the direct object, and the horse is the indirect object. I think that's why you use 'a' in the first and 'de' in the second example. I see over to the dog, but the dog is walking in the vicinity of the horse is what it sounds like in my head. :)

June 24, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/per.fagrell

CalvoViejo: so the only reason for 'del' instead of 'al' in the second sentence is that the horse isn't a direct object? I'm pretty sure a horse is animate, so there must be some difference, right?

June 25, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvoViejo

Wrong again, Aadit. "Del" is a contraction of "de + el". It does mean "of the" or "from the", but is NOT a contraction of "de + la". There is no contraction in Spanish involving "la".

June 26, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvoViejo

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.

June 26, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/per.fagrell

CalvoViejo: Thank you for the grammatical explanation of the use of 'de' in the second sentence.

oddible: the word 'a' is appearantly filled with meanings, not all obvious to an english speaker; I found a summary of it's uses here: http://spanish.about.com/od/prepositions/a/a.htm

June 26, 2012
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