Do you say "matar (conj.) + a + noun" or just "matar (conj.) + noun"?

Do you say "matar (conj.) + a + noun" or just "matar (conj.) + noun"?


For example.. Él mata mi gato. O Él mata a mi gato. Thanks!

updated MAR 1, 2010
posted by dkurz3
and no subject pronouns please;) - 00494d19, MAR 1, 2010

2 Answers


You will find many cases contrary to this but the rule is:

In Spanish, direct objects that are both human and specific require a special marker (the preposition a "to").


Pedro besó a Lucía. = Peter kissed Lucy. (Literally, "Peter kissed to Lucy")

Non-animate direct objects do not usually allow this marker, even if they are specific:

Pedro besó el retrato. = Peter kissed the picture.

Yet, some animate objects that are specific can optionally bear the marker:

Differential object marking (DOM) is a linguistic phenomenon that is present in more than 300 languages apart from Spanish.

updated MAR 1, 2010
edited by mediterrunio
posted by mediterrunio

If your attitude towards the cat is very personal (like it was your friend), then I think saying "Él mató a mi gato" would sound fine. But if you are telling someone that he "just" killed a cat (any cat, one you don't really care about) you would say: "Él mató un gato." But let's wait for other opinions.

updated MAR 1, 2010
posted by Issabela
great thanks! - dkurz3, MAR 1, 2010
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