"Estamos siguiendo al coche negro."
Translation:We are following the black car.
Why is there an "al"? I thought "a" was only for direct objects that are people.
Native Spanish speaker here, "al" is a contraction, it means "a el", in terms of an action being done to the thing ("el". Note that this does not apply to people, if something was being done to a man, it would be "a él"). So, "seguimos al coche" = "seguimos a el coche". Both mean the same, but separating "a el" from "al" just sounds strange to native Spanish speakers (but it would still make sense). Also note that this is only for actions being done to male nouns, there is no female counterpart. So if something is being done to a female noun, it's "a la". Ex. Nosotros estamos siguiendo a la mujer = We are following the woman (creepy example I know, sorry lol) Anyway, hope that helps!
The question was rather, why is there an a at all? Seguir appears to be transitive, and the black car doesn't seem so human that it would warrant the use of the "personal a".
Ah, wait, the first definition of seguir in the RAE dictionary also states that it can be used intransitively, so that might make the use of a here more appropriate. Still, it seems odd to not accept it without.
the theory says that... But... 1. Personification: a CD of thing or object can have a personification -Tú conoces (A) mi perro 2 treating as an object (cosificación) -Necesito ( )compañeras de piso .
"Al" really does seem wrong here. My lists of verbs that take "a" don't include seguir, it's not applying to a person, and Google translates it as "el" not "al." Could someone who really knows tell me if it is indeed wrong or if I'm missing something?
So, I've done some Googling and I don't feel any the wiser but here's what I've learned: there's a clear difference between "I followed the car" (meaning my car drove past after the other car drove past) and "I followed the car" (meaning I actively followed behind the car to its destination). The "a" appears to show that the sentence is 'transitive' (?!) or 'active' (as I prefer) as per the second example rather than 'passive' as in the first example.
Also, "a" can be used to highlight what the direct object is even if it's not a person because word order in Spanish is not as fixed as in English.
Hopefully someone with more knowledge can clarify if I've understood this properly.
I have found in Duo that anytime we have a verb involving movement "a' is required. It may be said that the 'a' of movement is used with a prepositional phrase that follows the verb. I found several examples outside of Duo
él estuvo siguiendo al Presidente durante algunas semanas. He's been following the President for some weeks now.
Sólo estaba siguiendo al caballo = I was only going after the horse.
Why isn't this (with 'al') "we are continuing to the black car"? (Before people say the English sounds strange, it's just another way to express 'we continue to the black car'.)
"tail" is not a synonym for "follow." It is much narrower in meaning, something done by police or an investigator or with malicious intent. To exaggerate a bit, it is something like translating "estoy siguiendo a Maria" as "I am stalking Maria."
Is my understanding correct, that the "al" is equivalent to "to the" , with the "a" being required to indicate movement? So "siguiendo a" means actively following, whereas "siguiendo" alone would mean "next" as in an ordered sequence?
?Por qué necesitas "a" (al) aquí? Duolingo no explica estas reglas gramáticas...
why is following "a black car" wrong? equally al coche refers to "to the"