A contraction is a phenomenon where two words are combined into one.

There are only 2 contractions in the Spanish language: “al” and “del”.

“al” is a contraction that happens when we would have the preposition “a” followed by the article “el”.

“del” is a contraction that happens when we would have the preposition “de”  followed by the article “el”.

Expressing them as formulas:

  • a + el = al
  • de + el = del

Aside for an exception that we will see in a moment, you always have to write the contraction in those cases. It is wrong to not do the contraction.

 

Examples:

RightWrong
Vamos al supermercadoVamos a el supermercado
¿Conoces al jefe?¿Conoces a el jefe?
Vengo del cineVengo de el cine
Es la hermana del profesorEs la hermana de el profesor

 

Exception

There is an exception where you can’t do the contractions: when the article “El” is capitalized. In that case, the contractions “al” and “del” can’t be done:

 

Examples:

Vamos a viajar a El Salvador. = We are going to travel to El Salvador

 

(No contraction, because El Salvador is the name of a country and El is capitalized).

 

Tolkien es el autor de El Señor de los Anillos. = Tolkien is the author of The Lord of the Rings.

 

(No contraction, because El Señor de los Anillos is the name of the book and the El is capitalized).

 

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Categorías: Spanish Grammar