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Why 'a la' in "por que no tocas a la tortugas"?

'por que no tocas a la tortugas' translates into 'why do you not touch the turtles', but where does the 'a la' come into play? If 'a la' is 'to the', doesn't it translate literally into 'why do you not touch to the turtles'?

Thank you for the time, guys/girls. (and please oversee the lack of proper accents and question marks)

June 29, 2012



The answer is twofold: the preposition "a" is used for the direct object when it refers to persons or to personalized animals (or even things sometimes). E.g.: "Veo a mi madre, veo a mi perro" but "veo la mesa, veo el carro." So, in this case, it should technically be "...tocas las tortugas". But we tend to personalize most animals anyway (especially pets), so I would say that "...tocas a las tortugas," "tocas a los caballos" are just as acceptable as "...tocas las tortugas," "tocas los caballos." But for a word like silla (chair) the only correct way would be "tocas la silla." On a slightly different subject, "tocar a la puerta" means "knock on the door", whereas "tocar la puerta" justs means "touch the door."


Moreover, translations by nature are never entirely literal.

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