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Preposition "a"

 

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Old May 28, 2014, 09:34 AM
luis magistrado luis magistrado is offline
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Preposition "a"

i am still confused with using the preposition "a". What exactly are the rules?

Todavia yo estoy confundido con usar la preposicion "a". Exactamente, que son las reglas?

Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; May 28, 2014 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Moved to dedicated thread
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Old May 28, 2014, 11:04 AM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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Originally Posted by luis magistrado View Post
gracias,

i am still confused with using the preposition "a". What exactly are the rules?

Todavia yo estoy confundido con usar la preposicion "a". Exactamente, que son las reglas?
I'm not surprised: the preposition 'a' has several distinct uses. For that matter, several other prepositions also have more than one distinct use.

The most common uses of the preposition 'a' include:

1. As a preposition 'a' typically introduces a location towards which motion occurs (a destination or a direction). It commonly is used with verbs of motion. For example, voy a la tienda.

2. 'a' also typically marks 'indirect' objects. Every indirect object is specified as a prepositional phrase, and most often one uses 'a', especially when the nature of the relationship of the 'indirect' object is reasonably clear from context. Sometimes one chooses a different preposition to mark an 'indirect' object. 'Indirect' object pronouns (me, te, nos, os, le, les, or se) are equivalent to the prepositional phrase. Some examples:
Di un libro a María = I gave María a book, I gave a book to María
Compré una pluma a Juan = I bought a pen from Juan. (In some contexts, this may mean "I bought Juan a book" "I bought a book for Juan". Spanish allows a much wider range of meanings for 'indirect' objects than English does.)
Le lavé la cara al bebé = I washed the baby's face.

3. 'a' also has the function that English-speaking students of Spanish know as 'personal a'. In this case, 'a' marks direct objects when they are human, definite and specific; a noun that is human, definite and specific that is not marked with 'a' may appear to be the subject of the verb.
Juan (le) dio el libro a María, (le) dio Juan el libro a María, a María le dio el libro Juan, a María le dio Juan el libro are all possible ways to say "Juan gave Maria the book"/"Juan gave the book to Maria". Of course, some of them are less common than others.

4. Many verbs require another verb as a complement. However, each verb has specific requirements about how another verb may function as a complement.
4.1. Some verbs require their complement verbs to be infinitives that follow immediately. For example, quiero ir.
4.2. Many verbs require that a specific preposition introduce their complement verbs. For example:
4.2.1 Many verb require using 'a': aprendo a cocinar, empiezo a estudiar
4.2.2 Some verbs require using 'de': terminé de hacerlo
4.2.3 Some verbs require using 'con': soñé con mi padre anoche = "I dreamed about my father last night"
4.3 A few verbs require something other than a preposition to introduce their complement verbs. In particular: tengo que ir = "I must/have to go", hay que hacerlo = "It is necessary/one must do it"

While there are a few generalizations one can make about which verbs require which pattern for using a second verb as a complement, one mostly needs to learn each verb and which pattern it requires one at a time.

Last edited by wrholt; May 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM.
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Old May 28, 2014, 04:01 PM
luis magistrado luis magistrado is offline
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Muchisimas gracias.
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