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Quick answer
"Del" is a preposition which is often translated as "of the", and "de él" is a phrase which is often translated as "his". Learn more about the difference between "del" and "de él" below.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (contraction of "de" plus "el")
a. of the
La mejor parte del fin de semana es comer con toda la familia los domingos.The best part of the weekend is having dinner with the whole family on Sundays.
b. from the
Acabo de llegar del parque.I've just come from the park.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
El coche es del padre de un amigo.The car belongs to a friend's dad.
El libro del maestro tiene las repuestas al examen.The teacher's book has the answers to the exam.
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de él(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. his
¿Son tuyos estos zapatos? - No, son de él.Are these shoes yours? - No, they aren't. They're his.
b. from him
Me llegó una carta de él desde el frente de batalla.I got a letter from him from the battlefront.
c. of his
Un amigo de él me informó del accidente.A friend of his informed me about the accident.
d. of him
Adoraba a mi abuelo. Aún conservo un viejo retrato de él.I adored my grandad. I still keep an old portrait of him.
e. by him
Canté varios clásicos del jazz acompañado de él a la guitarra.I sang several jazz standards accompanied by him on guitar.
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