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"Al" is a form of "al", a contraction which is often translated as "to the". "Un" is an indefinite article which is often translated as "a". Learn more about the difference between "al" and "un" below.
al(
ahl
)
A contraction is a shortened form of a word or group of words made by omitting a sound or letter (e.g. don't).
contraction
1. (used to indicate direction)
a. to the
Vamos al centro comercial después de clases.We're going to the shopping mall after class.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
¿Cuánto tardas en ir al trabajo?How long does it take you to go to work?
Este año no viajaremos al extranjero.We won't be going abroad this year.
2. (used to indicate movement)
a. into the
Miguel se lanzó al agua.Miguel jumped into the water.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Súbete al muro para ver mejor.Get up on the wall to get a better view.
Se subió al coche y se fue.He got in the car and left.
3. (used to indicate position)
a. in the
Estuvimos al sol toda la tarde.We sat in the sun all afternoon.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Me gusta hacer ejercicio al aire libre.I like exercising outdoors.
Nos sentamos al fondo de la sala.We sat at the back of the room.
4. (used to indicate frequency)
a. a
Tome el medicamento dos veces al día.Take the medication twice a day.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
preposition
5. (used with an infinitive)
a. when
Al decirle que tenía que ponerse a trabajar, Josué se enfadó mucho con su hermana.When she told him he needed to get to work, Josue got really mad at his sister.
b. as
Al no poder encontrar trabajo, Mark decidió emigrar.As he couldn't find a job, Mark decided to emigrate.
c. by
Al nombrarme vocero del movimiento, Carlos me dejó ver que confía en mí.By appointing me spokesman of the movement, Carlos let me know he trusts me.
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un(
oon
)
An indefinite article is a word that indicates that a noun is not specific (e.g. a girl).
indefinite article
1. (singular)
a. a
Había un coche estacionado en la puerta.There was a car parked at the gate.
b. an (before vowel sound)
Tienen una vieja cámara que todavía funciona.They have an old camera which is still working.
2. (plural)
a. some
Compré unos libros muy interesantes.I bought some very interesting books.
Conseguí unas manzanas deliciosas en el mercado.I got some delicious apples at the market.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
adjective
3. (number)
a. one
Solo queda un dulce en la caja.There's only one chocolate left in the box.
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