Prepositions and infinitives.

Prepositions and infinitives.


I'm having difficulties understanding when to put "a" into a sentence after a conjugated verb but before an infinitive. I know things like venir require an a. Are these verbs just verbs without a readily apparent reason why that I'll just have to memorize?

For example, from another question asked on this site:

Estos son solamente algunos de los elementos que ayudaron a hacer de Volver una película popular, y (la cual) continuará entreteniendo a audiencias en el futuro.

I could have sworn I've seen infinitives used after a conjugation without any prepositions. Sé nadar. Now I know with saber there is an implied "how" in it like "buscar" has an implied for and only has an "a" if it is the personal a.

updated MAR 24, 2010
edited by Fredbong
posted by Fredbong

2 Answers


In some cases a is used and others it's not. These are basically for memory. Where you don't have to memorize is when using a verb that can relate a person or a thing. In theses cases, a is used with people, but not with things.

ie: Busco a mi hermana (I'm looking for my sister). Busco mi libro (I'm looking for my book).

Veo a ella (I see her). Veo mi casa (I see my house). Odio esa canción (I hate that song). Odio a aquel hombre (I hate that man).

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by 005faa61

I'm not certain that I understand the part of your example in in which you quote (I assume) "....ayudaron a hacer de Volver una película....". It appears that the person who wrote that wanted to say "bring back a popular film" in the sense that they wanted new people to see an old film. "Volver" doesn't sound right to me in that context. "Hicieron esfuerzos a que saliera de vuelta una película..." me suena mejor.

"Sé nadar" es correcto.

Don't think of "buscar" as "to look for" Think "seek" and you can forget the "for".

I always use "a" after "ayudar". Although, I notice, mostly in newspaper articles, that the "a" is omitted.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by DonBigoteDeLaLancha
Ah, sorry, I should have made it a point to put volver in quotation marks, "Volver" is the name of an spanish move. - Fredbong, MAR 24, 2010
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