Spanish contractions “al” and “del”

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 Spanish contractions “al” and “del” happen, as well as some exceptions to those rules.

At the end, there is a Quiz to practice contractions “al” and “del”.

1. Spanish Contractions “al” and “del” – When do they happen?

As we said, 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


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

2. Exceptions: When the contractions don’t happen

“Al” and “del” don’t happen 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).

3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish contractions “al” and “del”: