A and De with Articles: Basic Spanish

In English, we have many contractions – "don't," "can't," "she'll," "we're," etc. In Spanish, however, there are only two contractions. To avoid the awkwardness of pronouncing two vowels together in these commonly used combinations, a contraction is formed whenever the prepositions a or de is in front of the definite article el. They combine to form al or del.

a + el = al
de + el = del

¿Quieres ir al cine conmigo? [Do you want to go to the movie theater with me.]
Ésta calle va al parque. [This street goes to the park.]
El libro nuevo del escritor peruano es increíble! [The Peruvian writer's new book is incredible!]
¿Quieres ver la casa del profesor? [Do you want to see the professor's house?]

Some notes:

Contractions are only formed with the masculine singular article el. Do not form contractions with la, los, or las.
¿Puedes pasar este lápiz a la chica? [This is the girl's pencil.]
¿Dónde esta la comida de los animales? [Where is the animal's food?]

Don't form contractions with the subject pronoun él.
Ésta es la coche de él. [This is his car.]
¿Puedes dar éste regalo a él? [Can you give this gift to him?]

Don't form a contraction if el is part of a proper name.
¿Fuiste a El Salvador? [Did you go to El Salvador?]

Related Links:
Prepositions in Spanish - Special Cases
Spanish Worksheets
Spanish Quizzes
Spanish Games
Spanish FlashCards