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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.


Thanks for explanation


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.


Do all verbs that imply movement need 'a' afterward then? E.g. ir, salir, volver


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.


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 :/


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.


Was going to put llegan, hint said lleguen and so i got the answer wrong. Are we supposed to ignore hints at this stage?


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.


Same here! I would have got that correct if Duo's clue hadn't thrown in wrong clues grrrr :))


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!!


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."


When do we use en el vs. al


Llegan muy tarde al aeropuerto.

  • 1042

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.


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).


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.


Yeah, that helps. Thanks.


Capitalize ellos


I find it hard to remember when to use "llegan a" vs "llegan al"


Al is the combination of 'a' and 'el'. So you would use 'al' for anything masculine and 'a la' for anything feminine.

Airport is masculine 'el aeropuerto'.


Is there a cheat sheet of which verbs have to be followed by "a"? As in this example where llegar en is wrong, is there a way to learn which ones get a? or is it just a memorization thing?


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


From what I understand, all verbs that implying motion need 'a' after, e.g ir, salir. The reason why it's 'al' here is because 'a' combines with 'el' to become 'al'. 'En' is wrong, it would be 'a el aeropuerto' = 'al aeropuerto'


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"


Why is 'llegan a aeropuerto muy tarde' incorrect, but 'llegamos a nueva york hoy' correct, with respect to the 'a' (the latter statement is from a different question). I don't understand why we use 'a' for nueva york but 'al' for aeropuerto


New York is a place so it wouldn't make sense to use 'al neuva york' (to the New York). Whereas it makes sense to say 'al aeropuerto' (to the airport).


Why not 'ellos llegan a el aeropuerto muy tarde'


Because 'a' and 'el' form to make 'al'.


Why is Llegan al aeropuerto.... not accepted?


Llegan wasn't a suggested option.


The word suggestion say lleguen, which I used instead of llegan, and got it wrong. Now what sense does that make?

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