Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish contractions “al” and “del”.
A contraction is a grammatical phenomenon that happens when two words are merged into one. There are only two Spanish contractions: “al” and “del”.
In this lesson we will learn the rules for when these contractions happen, providing examples.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz for practice.
1. Spanish Contractions “al” and “del” – When do they happen?
As we said in the introduction, there are only two contractions in Spanish: “al” and “del” :
The contraction “al” happens when we would otherwise have the preposition “a” followed by article “el”.
The contraction “del” happens when we would otherwise have the preposition “de” followed by article “el”
Expressing the contractions as formulas:
- a + el = al
- de + el = del
|Vamos al supermercado||Vamos a el supermercado|
|¿Conoces al jefe?||¿Conoces a el jefe?|
|Vengo del cine||Vengo de el cine|
|Es la hermana del profesor||Es la hermana de el profesor|
2. Exceptions: When the contractions don’t happen
Contractions “al” and “del” don’t happen when the article “el” is capitalized.
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).
3. Practice Spanish Contractions “al” and “del”
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish contractions “al” and “del”: