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Quick answer
"El" is a definite article which is often translated as "the", and "le" is a pronoun which is often translated as "him". Learn more about the difference between "el" and "le" below.
A definite article is a word that identifies a noun as as specific or known to the speaker (e.g. the girl).
1. (general)
a. the
El gato está en el tejado.The cat is on the roof.
El teléfono estaba encima de la mesa.The telephone was on top of the table.
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A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
1. (indirect object)
a. him
Le di uno de mis libros.I gave him one of my books.
b. her
Le dije que nos estaban esperando.I told her that they were waiting for us.
c. you (formal)
Le advertí de que no viniera a las siete. I told you not to come at seven.
d. it
Le hice una cubierta nueva.I gave it a new cover.
2. (direct object)
Regionalism used in Spain
a. him
Le besé apasionadamente.I kissed him with passion.
b. you (formal)
Lo siento si le lastimé.I'm sorry if I hurt you.
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