Contractions are when two words combine to form one.
In English there are many contractions which could make it quite difficult for those learning the language. Below are just a few examples:
Do + not = don't
I + am = I'm
You + are = you're
They + have = they've
You + will = you'll
You + would = you'd
Luckily for those learning Spanish there are only two contractions:
a + el = al
de + el = el
Spanish contraction 'al'
This comes from combining 'a' (the English preposition 'to' or 'at') with 'el' (the masculine singular definite article 'the').
a + el = al (translates as 'to the' or 'at the')
Incorrect example - Vamos a el bar. (We go to the bar.)
Correct example - Vamos al bar. (We go to the bar.)
Spanish contraction 'del'
This comes from combining 'de' (the English preposition 'of' or 'from') with 'el' (the masculine singular definite article 'the').
de + el = del (translates as 'of the' or 'from the')
Incorrect example - ¿La tarea es de el maestro? (Is the homework from the teacher?)
Correct example - ¿La tarea es del maestro? (Is the homework from the teacher?)
- 'El' is the masculine singular definite article that means 'the'. This should not be confused with the subject pronoun 'él' which means 'he'. To differentiate the two remember the subject pronoun 'él' has an accent above the 'e'.
- De+la, de+las, de+los, a+la, a+las and a+los are never contracted.
- When forming the contraction always omit the 'e' in 'el'.
a + el (omit the 'e') - al
de + el (omit the 'e') - del
This modification is known as assimilation and is done because it is easier to pronounce 'al' or 'del' instead of 'a el' or 'de el'.
For more free Spanish lessons, sign up to our language packs here!