Spanish Contractions «al» and «del»

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

There are only two contractions in Spanish: «al» and «del».

Expressing them as formulas:

  • a + el = al
  • de + el = del

Be careful: for the contraction to happen, it needs to be the article «el», not the person «él» (with an accent mark)

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

We don’t do the contraction when the article «el» is capitalized.

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 «El» is capitalized).

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