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  #1  
Old March 20, 2007, 01:02 PM
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personal a

I'm hoping that someone can help me with the personal a. In my textbook it explains it, but I'm having a hard time understanding. When are all the times it's used?
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Old March 20, 2007, 09:15 PM
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You use it when the direct object of the sentence is a person.

For example, I found him in a store. Encontré a él en una tienda.
I looked for you. Busqué a ti.

There's no english equivalent, so sometimes it's difficult to understand. The a comes in front of the direct object, as you can see. But it's only used for a person. If I found a garbage can in the store, I wouldn't use personal a.

Encontré un basurero en la tienda.

But a is also a preposition, different from the personal variety. It can translate as "to" in english. Fui a canadá. I went to Canada. Personal a doesn´t translate like this.

You can also use it with things towards which the owner has personal feelings. I might use it for my dog or cat, for example.

Last edited by Felipe; March 20, 2007 at 09:20 PM.
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Old March 21, 2007, 10:48 AM
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That is a much much better explaination than what's in the textbook.

so the only time the personal a is used, is when there is a person being a direct object right? That makes it so much simpler in my mind.

Thanks man.
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Old March 21, 2007, 01:31 PM
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David has covered this question before, so there may be a thread already. V9's answer is perfect. you can also use the personal 'a' when speaking of a family pet.
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Old March 27, 2007, 05:41 PM
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I too have some trouble with the personal a. While chatting with someone from Argentina, she said: ¡Mate a los monos! (kill the monkeys!). This confused me, as I would have said ¡Mate los monos!
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Old March 29, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach View Post
I too have some trouble with the personal a. While chatting with someone from Argentina, she said: ¡Mate a los monos! (kill the monkeys!). This confused me, as I would have said ¡Mate los monos!
From what I understand from the previous answers, she must be thing of the monkeys as people .
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Old March 30, 2007, 02:28 AM
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It's a bit difficult to say. Animals can be both. Usually it's with "a", because you have a "relation" or "fixation"
"Me fui de safari y maté monos"
I went on safati and I kill monkeys. The monkeys are not important, you went there and you kill something (monkeys)
"me fui de safari y maté a los monos"
I went on safari and I kill the monkeys. I was waiting for them or I knew it was possible to find monkeys. I "know" them.

You can say both of the next sentences
"persigo a los gatos" "persigo gatos"
"alimento a las palomas" "alimento palomas"
The first version it's the more common. The second it's OK, but sound odd. In the second version it's as your work is to pursuing cats.


For example with "comer" (eating) the animals are things, so always without "a"
comí vaca, comí cerdo, comí paloma, comí perro, comí mono (not very common, but...)

It sounds odd to say "Maté los monos". You can say "Maté a los monos" ó "Maté monos", but with "los" always with "a".
I have to go. I hope it helps a litle. Tomissimo will explain it

Last edited by sosia; March 30, 2007 at 02:31 AM.
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