Spanish contractions “al” and “del” – Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish contractions al and del.

Two sentences with these Spanish contractions
Two sentences with these contractions

A contraction happens when two words merge into one.

In this lesson we will learn the rules for al and del: when do they happen and how to use them.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

“al” and “del” – when do they happen?

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

al happens when the preposition “a” would otherwise be followed by the article “el”.
del happens when the preposition “de” would otherwise be followed by the article “el”.

Expressing the contractions as formulas:

  • a + el = al
  • de + el = del


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

Exceptions – when the contractions don’t happen

“al” and “del” don’t happen if the article El is capitalized.


Vamos a viajar a El Salvador.
We are going to travel to El Salvador (El Salvador is the name of a country, so “El” is capitalized).

Tolkien es el autor de El Señor de los Anillos.
Tolkien is the author of The Lord of the Rings. (El Señor de los Anillos is the name of the book, so “El” is capitalized).

Also, be mindful that in this lesson we are always talking about the article “el” (meaning the), not the subject pronoun “él” (with an accent mark, meaning he).

With “él”, the contraction never happens:

Le preguntamos a él.
We ask him.

Las gafas son de él.
The glasses belong to him.



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


Now we are going to practice with sentences.

Fill the gaps choosing between the options in brackets. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1) Me encanta esta parte del libro. (del de el)
I love this part of the book.

2) El maletín es del profesor. (del de el)
The briefcase belongs to the teacher.

3) Esta es la portada de El Médico, la famosa novela. (del de El)
This is the cover of The Physician, the famous novel.

4) Voy a El Paso, Texas. (al a El)
I’m going to El Paso, Texas.

5) Ellos van al supermercado. (al a el)
They go to the supermarket.

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