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"They arrive at the airport very late."

Translation:Ellos llegan al aeropuerto muy tarde.

March 20, 2018



Why is it sometimes ok to use "en" for "at" and other times not?


Prepositions are a weird thing; they don't always translate well between languages.

Certain verbs have to be followed by certain prepositions, and it's something you just have to memorize for each language.

In Spanish, "llegar" has to be followed by "a."


I agree SariahLily, unless it's followed by de ! :)

to arrive at = llegar a
to arrive from = llegar de

See https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-of-llegar-3079755
(There are many more examples with a than with de.)


Thanks for the explanation. I wish the link you provided also shed light on the actual spanish phrases that go with the English translations so we could see how they used it.


Ellos llegan al aeropuerto. Ellos comen en el aeropuerto. They both mean at the airport. It depends on the verb. Notice how the verb arrive implies movement towards the airport, but the verb eat does not.


Why wrong? Llegan en el aeropuerto muy tarde.


This is the right formula: llegar + a / al / a la / a los / a los


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.


Fantastic explanation!!! I wish Duo would include such explanations in their "tips" sections. Have a lingot :)


Thanks for the explanation.


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 :/


El us the where as al is a combination of 2 words meaning at the


Ok...the last time I used "al aeropuerto", it didn't accept it. It said to use "en el aeropuerto"....so I do that this time and now I'm wrong...I don't get it...


Okay, let's use examples from this set of lessons.

  1. taxi goes to the airport - al ("to the") aeropuerto (shows movement toward, so "a" = "to");

  2. many planes are at the airport - en el aeropuerto (planes are already there, so "en" = "at")

  3. 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 muy tarde al aeropuerto was marked wrong. Any reason for this?


"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.


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.


Google uses 'a el aeropuerto'


Google is still learning.


Thanks for saying that, David. I was about to respond with a harsh remark about Google, but your gentle comment is a great improvement!!


What???? All of a sudden llegan is not correct and some totally new word for arrive is??? Smh


Hi any ideas why this is considered wrong?

Van a llegar al aeropuerto muy tarde


alsmari, it's the same idea as Duo's sentence, but not a translation of it. Duo's is "They arrive at the airport very late;" yours is "They are going to arrive at the airport very late."


If I write 'Ellos llegan a el aeropuerto muy tarde' is wrong? I understand that al it is a and el , so why is it wrong?


The contractions al and del are mandatory. It is considered wrong not to make them, unless el is part of a name (Voy a El Salvador).


Llegan muy tarde al aeropuerto.


aterrizan en el aeropuerto muy tarde. This takes even Duos biscuit. Why use landing? and not accept llegan


I agree, it sounds weird.


Ellos llegan en el airopuerto muy tarde


This is addressed above in this discussion. Before posting, it may be a good idea to read through the comments already posted.


I may have this wrong, but why is 'a el aeropuerto' not accepted if "al" is a contraction of "a el"?


Because contractions are not optional in Spanish. You can never say "a el." It's always "al."


Thanks for this direct response. It's very helpful if the answer is " you never " do such and such. Providing that the answer is correct. :)


Never say never; there is always a catch. In this case, the catch is that you don't make a contraction if "El" is part of a proper name. "Ellos llegan a El Salvador muy tarde".


Why would ellos have to be expressed. It is understood by the verb llegan?


"Llegan" can also mean "you (plural) arrive". So to clairfy who is arriving you would use "Ellos llegan muy tarde" (They are arriving very late.) or "Ustedes llegan muy tarde" (You are arriving very late - meaning you the group).


have trouble with (al use for at the), I keep using en el, any rules? del also a problem.


In a similar question in this same lesson, I was marked wrong for using "al aeropuerto" for "at the airport" so this time I used "en el aeropuerto" which was the correct answer last time. Wrong again! Frustrating.


What is the difference between Muy and Mucho?


In the very last exercise of this lesson we were told that you do not say, "al aeropuerto" but, "en el aeropuerto". What give? Which is correct?


It depends on the verb. This is a tricky one, because Spanish uses llegar a (target), while English prefers 'arrive at' (static). See the thread started by dejoyf on this page.

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