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Quick answer
"En que" is a preposition which is often translated as "that", and "a la que" is a phrase which is often translated as "to which". Learn more about the difference between "en que" and "a la que" below.
en que(
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (pertaining to a moment in time)
a. that
El día en que te fuiste fue el peor día de mi vida.The day that you left was the worst day of my life.
b. when
En el momento en que viré la cabeza, un carro nos chocó.In the moment when I turned my head, a car hit us.
c. on which
Te vas tan linda ahora como el día en que nos casamos.You look as beautiful now as on the day on which we got married.
2. (describing condition or state)
a. in which
Tengo curiosidad del estado en que llegarán tus maletas.I'm curious to see the state in which your suitcases will arrive.
3. (explaining a topic)
a. in that
El choque nos benefició en que nos pudimos comprar un carro nuevo.The crash benefited us in that we were able to buy a new car.
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a la que(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (used to indicate feminine direct or indirect object)
a. to which (thing)
Esta es una amenaza a la que nuestro Gobierno no va a responder.This is a threat to which our government is not going to respond.
b. which (thing)
La montaña, a la que algunos llaman "La Torre", es muy alta.The mountain, which some call "The Tower," is very high.
c. to whom (person)
Me presentaron a Claudia Santos, a la que solo conocía de vista.I was introduced to Claudia Santos, to whom I only knew by sight.
d. whom (person)
Jenkins es una profesora a la que debo mucho.Jenkins is a professor whom I owe a lot.
e. who (person)
Gloria es una mujer a la que le gusta el deporte.Gloria is a woman who likes sports.
f. who ... to (person)
La mujer a la que le di el dinero resultó ser una timadora.The woman who I gave the money to turned out to be a con artist.
g. that
Tú eres la mujer a la que amo y siempre lo serás.You are the woman that I love and you will always be.
h. that ... to
Mira, esta es la casa a la que voy.Look, this is the house that I'm going to.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Nueva Orleans es una ciudad a la que siempre quiero volver.New Orleans is a city I always want to go back to.
La iglesia a la que fui no tenía campanario.The church I went to didn't have a bell tower.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(used as an adverb to indicate a point in time)
Regionalism used in Spain
a. as
A la que yo hago fuerza con la palanqueta, tú le das una buena patada a la puerta.As I press the jimmy, you kick the door hard.
b. every time
A la que el tenista sueco tiene problemas para restar, el argentino sube corriendo a la red.Every time the Swedish player has problems returning a serve, the Argentinian rushes to the net.
c. as soon as
A la que salgo de clase, los niños se ponen a jugar y a gritar.As soon as I leave the classroom, the children start playing and shouting.
d. when
A la que llegues a casa, por favor da de comer al perro.When you get home, please feed the dog.
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