Spanish Contractions “al” and “del”

A contraction is a phenomenon where two words are merged into one. Spanish has only two contractions: “al” and “del”

In this lesson we will learn when these contractions happen, as well as some exceptions where they don’t happen.

We ill go through the following points:

1. Contractions “al” and “del”

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

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

The contraction “del” happens when we would have the preposition “de” followed by the 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

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).

3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge!:

Like us and keep improving your Spanish :)