"The airport is very close to the station."
Translation:El aeropuerto está muy cerca de la estación.
If the noun is feminine, then you have to use the feminine version of 'the', which is 'la'. In the sentence above 'estación' is feminine so you have to write 'cerca de la estación'.
However, in this sentence, if the noun was 'parque', which is masculine. Then, you would want to turn to use the masculine version of 'the', which is 'el'. Therefore, you would want to write 'cerca de el parque.' But, in Spanish, you can never write both 'de' and 'el' together, so instead you replace both words with 'del'. So, you have to write 'cerca del parque'.
I hope this helps.
So, when you use the word "cerca," unless if there is something after it, like, The airport is close - to the station, (El aeropuerto está muy cerca de la estación) you just leave it as cerca. But when there is "to the station" after "cerca," you use "cerca de - la estacion" as "close to - the station" instead of "cerca a la estacion," like you might think you would. I hope this helped someone.
Del (de el) and al (a el) are both masculine and this is the only contraction in Spanish it seems, as I read it in another post, del is used for 'from the' and 'of the', while al is used for 'to the' and 'at the', since both are masculine, I'm thinking that they can't be used for estacion as estacion is feminine, we will have to use 'de la', as al expands to 'a el', I think it becomes wrong.
El aeropuerto está muy cerca a la estación. Like many of you, I used "a la.". Google translation (not 100% accurate and I'm not a native Spanish speaker) agrees with me as well as many others that this is a perfectly acceptable/equal translation. Reported it 4-04-19.
Other: "Spanish Cliff Notes" as posted by another Duo learner in this post tread is interesting, but in my opinion not necessarily helpful in this Duo example https://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/subjects/foreign-languages/in-spanish-how-do-i-know-when-to-use-de-del-a-and-al
I understand why la is used before estacion. It's feminine. My confusion is why de is used. I googled the translation of "de" and it gave 9 words that "de" can be used for. None of them were the word "to". And the light bulb tips on Duo gives about 5 words for "de"...but the word "to" is not one of them. Help! I felt like I was doing so good but this lesson has stumped me.