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

Spanish contractions AL and DEL, Learn and Practice Them

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish “al” and “del”, where we will learn and practice these contractions.

A contraction is a grammatical phenomenon that happens when two words merge into one.

In this lesson we will learn the rules for these Spanish contractions: when do they happen and how to use them, providing examples.

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 we would have the preposition “a” followed by the article “el”.
“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

Exceptions where 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).



Also, be careful! In this lesson we are always talking about the article “el”, not about the subject pronoun “él” (with an accent mark, meaning “him”).

With the pronoun “él” the contraction never happens:

Le preguntamos a él.
We ask him.

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

Practice

Quiz

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

Exercise

Now we are going to practice with sentences.

Fill the gaps choosing between the options in brackets:

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

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

3) Esta es la portada _____ Médico, la novela de Noah Gordon. (del — de El)
This is the cover of The Physician, the novel by Noah Gordon.

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

5) Tengo que ir ______ supermercado. (al — a el)
I have to go to the supermarket.

Solutions:
1) del
2) del
3) de El
4) a El
5) al