"His cousin was touching the cat."
Translation:Su primo estaba tocando al gato.
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I know that "a el" turns into "al". Is this a very strict rule? For example, imagine someone is speaking very slowly (as if making up a story on the spot). He says "Su primo estaba tocando a..." and then he thinks that he could say "la lámpara" but changes his mind and wants to say "el gato". Would he forge ahead and say the "el"? Basically, how wrong is it to say "a el"? Thanks!