Creating Contractions with Articles in Spanish

By Gail Stein

Believe it or not, the entire Spanish language features only two contractions. And unlike English contractions, which never include the definite article the, Spanish contractions always involve one of two prepositions paired with the.

1Remember that a plus el equals al.

To say the phrase to the in Spanish, you combine a (ah; to) and el (ehl; the) by dropping the –e in el:

Voy al supermercado. (bvoy ahl soo-pehr-mehr-cahdoh.) (I’m going to the supermarket.)

2Know that de plus el equals del.

To say the phrase from the in Spanish, you combine de (deh; from) and el (the) by dropping an –e:

Soy del Uruguay. (soy dehl oo-roo-guahi.) (I’m from Uruguay.)

3Don’t form contractions when el is part of a title or name.

This circumstance is the exception to the rule, so watch out for it when you encounter sentences like the following:

Soy de El Salvador. (soy deh ehl sahl-bvah-dohr.) (I’m from El Salvador.)