Language Guide
Prepositions
Spanish Contractions

Spanish Contractions

Overview

English has quite a lot of contractions (short forms of a word or group of words made by leaving out a sound or letter), such as can’t, we’ll, you’d, they’re, you’ve, etc. Spanish, however, has only two!

Meet al and del

When the prepositions a  or de  come before the definite article el , they combine with it to form a contraction.

Word Math

a + el = al 

de + el = del 

More on al

Normally, whenever a and el are together, you must contract them to al . However, if el is a capitalized part of a name, it does not contract to al when used with a.

SpanishEnglish
Correct
¿Vas al hotel?
 
Are you going to the hotel?
Incorrect¿Vas a el hotel?
Correct
Vamos al restaurante allá.
 
We are going to the restaurant over there.
IncorrectVamos a el restaurante allá.
Correct
Se fueron a El Paso.
 
They went to El Paso.
IncorrectSe fueron al Paso.

More on del

Normally, whenever de and el are together, you must shorten them to del . However, if el is a capitalized part of a name, it does not contract to del when used with de. Sound familiar? It should, because it's the same rule you just learned for al.

SpanishEnglish
Correct
Esta es la clase del profesor.
 
This is the professor's class.
IncorrectEsta es la clase de el profesor.
Correct
Soy del Reino Unido.
 
I'm from the United Kingdom.
IncorrectSoy de el Reido Unido.
Correct
Es de El Salvador.
 
He's from El Salvador.
IncorrectEs del Salvador.

Do not form contractions with the subject pronoun él .

Es la casa de él.
It is his house.
 
Es la casa del hombre alto.
It is the tall man’s house.
 

Do not form contractions with other definite articles (la, los, las).

Es el libro de la mujer bonita.
It is the pretty woman’s book.
 
Soy amiga de las hermanas de Anita.
I'm a friend of Anita’s sisters.
 
Son los juguetes de los niños.
They are the children’s toys.
 

Take a practice quiz!

Practice what you know with our quiz tool.

Did this page answer your question?