"They arrive at the airport very late."
Translation:Ellos llegan al aeropuerto muy tarde.
It is indeed common to find a after a verb of movement. It is a preposition that roughly implies the idea of a target or destination. In that regard, it can be compared to English 'to', but the correspondence is far from exact. I'd argue it's not so much about verbs of movement needing the preposition as the speaker generally wanting to specify where they are moving to. But the result is the same.
However, if the verb of movement is linking to another verb in order to form a 'periphrasis' (verbal phrase?), as in yo no llego a entender (I can't come to understand), tú vas a aprender (you are going to learn), él vuelve a empezar (he starts again), then yes, you have very good odds that a will be needed as the linking preposition.
Compare more specific ways of indicating a destination, such as hacia ('towards') and hasta ('until'). Contrast the generic use of de with the same verbs to mark the origin of the movement.
08/12/18. ProfesorAntonio, respectfully, you have addressed the answer provided by DL, but not answered dejoyf's question (which is restated by DgjctCGR below). As you are a "Mexican native Spanish speaker," I remain curious why not "en" also (not instead of "a")?
Think that the answer is that "a" is just the specific preposition matched with and peculiar to the verb "llegar" to mean "to arrive at/in (noun)." See www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/verbs/verbs-with-prepositions.
The reason has to do with the difference between Spanish thinking and English thinking. For Spanish, arrival and departure are about motion. You arrive "to" some place and depart "from" some place. You don't arrive "at" a place. You can be "in" or "at" a place, but you don't go "at" a place.
This get's flipped completely around with other verbs. Elsewhere on Duo there's a statement like "open the book to page two." In this sentence, English speakers use "to" because, I suppose, we are going to that page. In Spanish, however, you want to be "at" that page. So, the preposition in that case is en and not a.
To finish off ProfesorAntonio's statement: the verb llegar uses "al" instead of "en el". Other verbs would use "en el". For example "Tengo que estar en el aeropuerto" (I have to be at the airport) uses. So... how do you know if you are to use "al" or "en el"??? You memorize :/
Okay, let's use examples from this set of lessons.
taxi goes to the airport - al ("to the") aeropuerto (shows movement toward, so "a" = "to");
many planes are at the airport - en el aeropuerto (planes are already there, so "en" = "at")
here's the tough one: they arrive at the airport - al aeropuerto, BECAUSE ; even though in English we say "at" because they are now there, in Spanish, they characterize it as "to", because they were not ALREADY there, like the planes, so movement toward is still implied.
It's just a different way of conceptualizing it, and there isn't a direct one-to-one translation that makes it easy. You just have to learn to think of it the way they think of it. Hope this helps.
"Ellos llegan al aeropuerto muy tarde." = "They arrive at the airport very late."
"Ellos llegan muy tarde al aeropuerto" = "They arrive very late at the airport."
While they mean basically the same and you could probably say either one and get your meaning across, they are different sentences. For the purposes of DL, give Dúo what he asks for.
I really wish hints for verbs would give you the base form (llegar) and let you conjugate. It would be so much easier for everyone...
Anyway, when looking at a hint focus on the radical but be suspicious about the particular ending you are shown. And report if it turns out not to be the good one.
The correction for my wrong answer on this one was "Ellos aterrizan en el aeropuerto muy tarde". Is this a fluke of the program or did anyone else get this word. I guess the word aterrizan refers to the plane touching down on the landing strip but this is not one of the words in Travel 4.
Mindy, you didn't tell us what you wrote that Duo was correcting. I'll guess you said Ellos llegan en el aeropuerto muy tarde. Duo was looking for llegan a, not llegan en. When the robot-corrector saw en, it looked for a verb that would go with it and found aterrizar.
If you don't understand Duo's correction on the answer page, come to the discussion and look at the top of it to see what the correct correction should be. At the top of this discussion you'll see Ellos llegan al aeropuerto muy tarde.
This is one of my favorite resources:
But there are plenty of lists and explanations on the web. Do a search for something like "prepositions after Spanish verbs." For example (don't forget to look at the images too), https://www.google.com/search?q=spanish+verbs+with+prepositions&oq=Spanish+verbs+with+prep&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l3.26138j0j7&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#sbfbu=1&pi=spanish%20verbs%20with%20prepositions
You are mostly right. The problem is that verbs of motion can go in different directions. If you use them to talk about a destination, then something like "a," "para," "hacia," etc. is needed. However, if you want to talk about coming from somewhere, you can't indicate that with one of those prepositions. Instead, you need something like "de" or "desde."
"they are arriving from Spain" = "llegan de España"
"they are arriving in Spain" = "llegan a España"