How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

Hola!

In my last post I talked about VOY (I GO or I’M GOING).

In the examples I used there, I chose FEMININE nouns to accompany the verb IR (TO GO).

I did this deliberately because, over the years I have been teaching Spanish, I have seen that FEMININE nouns and adjectives tend to be mentioned as an aside, an add-on, and sometimes not even written out for students to learn effectively.

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Voy A LA plaza (I’m going to the square)

I’m determined to change that, by introducing FEMININE forms in Spanish grammar first!

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG
Feminine nouns first!

Some examples from that post nouns considered FEMININE in Spanish grammar…

LA CLASE = THE CLASS                A LA CLASE  = TO THE CLASS

VOY ……A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL          I go to the Spanish class

VOY …. A LA PELUQUERÍA                       I go to the hairdresser’s

VOY …. A LA TIENDA                                 I’m going to the shop

VOY …. A LA CASA                                      I’m going to the house

VOY …. A LA ESTACIÓN                            I’m going to the station

VOY …. A LA PLAZA                                   I’m going to the square

A LA =TO THE (with FEMININE nouns)

However, there are lots of other places you need to talk about, which are considered MASCULINE in Spanish grammar…

 For MASCULINE nouns: EL = THE  

El trabajo The work

(El trabajo (Pronunciation: tra-ba_HO, with strong emphasis on the HO sound)

El colegio          The school

El bar               The bar

El mercado     The market

El pueblo         The town

El museo          The museum

In a sentence where you want to talk about going TO one of those places, things change slightly!  You might think you could say ‘A EL MERCADO’ for TO THE MARKET. But you CAN’T!

But  in Spanish it just doesn’t work like that!

The two vowel sounds of ‘A’ and ‘E’ just don’t go together. They’re difficult to pronounce, so Spanish has just contracted them together, cut out the ‘E’, and solved the problem. SIMPLE REALLY!

“A EL” doesn’t exist. “A EL” is contracted into ONE WORD, by dropping the E, and, HEY PRESTO… the A and L become = AL.

Very clever!

A EL TRABAJO = AL MERCADO = TO THE MARKET

AL = TO THE  (with MASCULINE nouns)

intervention_toit_sis_genc3a8ve
Voy al trabajo en un tejado (I go to work …on a roof! Photo Credit

VOY  AL TRABAJO    I go to (the) work

VOY AL COLELGIO    I’m going to the school

VOY AL BAR            I’m going to the bar

VOY AL MERCADO  I go to the market

VOY AL PUEBLO    I’m going to the town

VOY AL MUSEO    I’m going to the museum

For a review of VOY and its different meanings, see my previous post VOY.

Repeat the sentences aloud. Get used to hearing yourself saying the different words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.

See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning

Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using VOY and A LA or AL.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

2 comments

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