First of all, thanks to 'Dewclaw' for providing the link in a previous thread. I found it important and worth sharing.

In Spanish, many verbs must be followed by a preposition, which may or may not correspond to the preposition (if any) used in English. The following is a list of Spanish verbs which require 'a' when followed by an infinitive.


acercarse a : to approach

acertar a : to manage to

acostumbrarse a : to be/get used to

alcanzar a : to manage to

animar a : to encourage to

aprender a : to learn to

atreverse a : to dare to

ayudar a : to help

bajar a : to go down to

comenzar a : to begin to

Here's the link to the complete list link text

  • Posted Jul 1, 2011
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  • sniff... that's ok - dewclaw Jul 1, 2011

4 Answers



I thought I would reply just because this thread has no other reply. I hate seeing those "zero's".

In the link that you provided, note that there are two lists:




It's important to use both lists. In a similar thread here tonight, it mentions the use of empezar+a when followed by an infinitive.

You also need to look at the list of verbs that take "a" before an object (noun) to see if empezar needs one there.

Empiezo a leer. (followed by a verb infinitive)

Empiezo el libro. (empezar is not on the list of verbs that uses "a" before an object.

There. Now the thread has a reply. (meaningful or not).



The preposition "a" indicates direction with any verb of motion, such as "acercarse" or "bajar", but that doesn't mean that those verbs should go with "a". They can be used with many other prepositions ("bajar hacia", "bajar desde", "acercarse desde"...) or even without preposition.

animar a : to encourage to

ayudar a : to help

These are not "verb with preposition". The are a transitive verb, and that "a" is the famous "personal a", required with specific people. If the object is not a person, you don't use the preposition: "Animar la fiesta". Besides, you don't need the preposition if you use object pronouns.

You should only memorize those verbs that do not follow patterns and demand the preposition, not the ones I explained above.

  • Jul 2, 2011
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You usually have an "a" between the 2nd and 3rd verb:

I'm afraid there is no such rule. I can come up with several counterexamples in a blink: Voy a tener que ir. You have two periphrases, one within another:

A periphrasis is a group of two or more verbs which are often linked with prepositions or conjunctions, where one verb works like a helper, and the others (in almost every case, it is a non-finite or non-conjugated verb) provide the key meaning. Together, they behave like a single verb would. Ir a + verb is a periphrasis, and it is almost like to go to + verb in English. But if instead of using a verb after "Ir a + ", you want to use another periphrasis or verbal phrase, that's fine, because they behave like verbs. You can use the periphrases "aprender a leer", "tener que ir"... The preposition (or lack of) depends on the kind of periphrasis that you insert in the other periphrasis.

And don't forget that infinitives can be used in general as nouns, so instead of "querer chocolate" you can say "querer viajar", and this infinitive works like a noun, so it is just an object. The same happens with "Prefiero arroz" and "Prefiero viajar", where "arrorz" and "viajar" are both objects. Now, your object does not have to be a single infinitive; "Prefiero comer arroz", "comer arroz" is the object, and in "Quiero conseguir abrazar a...", everything that follows "quiero" is the object. Look at this sentence:

Quiero conseguir hacerle salir.

  • The last one...I want to get to make him to leave???! - SpanishPal Jul 2, 2011
  • I want to make him/her come out - lazarus1907 Jul 2, 2011
  • A rule would be "always". Maybe you can start correcting people with a little more couth. - Tosh Jul 2, 2011


You usually have an "a" between the 2nd and 3rd verb:

I am going to learn to read:

Voy a aprender a leer.

They are in the infinitive form because they are not actually happening at the time you are saying that sentence.

You are not learning. You are not reading. You are "going" to do something, that's why you conjugate "ir".

You must start to eat faster:

Tienes que comenzar a comer más rápido.

The person is not starting. They are not eating, necessarily. But they "must" do something... so you conjugate "tener" + que.

  • Jul 1, 2011
  • | Edited by Tosh Jul 1, 2011
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