Copyright

The Personal A in Spanish

The Personal A in Spanish
Coming up next: Spanish Practice Activity: Using Common -ER and -IR Verbs

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:07 A Personal
  • 0:25 Direct Objects
  • 2:00 A Personal Usage
  • 3:27 Special Rules
  • 6:17 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Warren
This video will introduce the grammar concept of the 'a' personal, or personal 'a,' in Spanish. Learn how it is used in sentences and the types of sentences in which it is not used. A brief introduction to direct objects is also included in the video.

A Personal - Why It's Tricky

¡Hola! In this video, we will discuss the a personal, or personal a. What makes this one little word so tricky is that there is no English translation. But, with this video and a little practice, you will be able to use it like a pro!

Direct Objects

Before you can understand how to use the a personal, you need to understand exactly what a direct object is. So, let's start with that. The direct object is the thing that receives the action of the verb. This could be a noun or a pronoun.

For example, in the sentence, 'Juan sees Sara,' the direct object is 'Sara.' Sara is receiving the action of the verb, which is 'seeing.' In the sentence, 'Paula calls Adela,' Adela is the recipient of the verb since she is the one being called. So, she is the direct object. If you changed that sentence to be 'Paula calls her,' then the pronoun 'her' is the direct object.

The direct object need not be a person. In the sentence, 'Víctor throws the ball,' the direct object is the 'ball.' The ball is what is receiving the action.

Let's make sure we've got this. Can you name the direct objects in these sentences?

Rosalía pets her dog.

Ana looks at Antonio.

Lázaro is drinking milk.

In the first sentence, the direct object is 'dog.' In the second sentence, the direct object is 'Antonio.' And, in the final sentence, the direct object is 'milk.' If that all made sense, then you're ready to move on!

A Personal Usage

As I said, the a personal has no translation in English. However, to leave it out in Spanish is a major mistake.

The a personal is simply the letter a. The reason it is called the a personal is that any time the direct object is a person, the a must be used in front of it.

For example, to translate the sentence, 'Mateo sees Adrián,' you would say, Mateo ve a Adrián. To translate the sentence, 'I know Yolanda,' you would say, Conozco a Yolanda. And, to translate the sentence, 'Juan hits Antonio,' you would say, Juan pega a Antonio.

However, if the thing that Juan is hitting is not a person - say, if it were a book - then you no longer need the a personal. The sentence, 'Juan hits the book,' would be translated as Juan pega el libro. And, the sentence, 'Sara listens to a song,' would translate to Sara escucha una canción. The sentence, 'Rosalía drinks milk,' is translated as Rosalía bebe leche.

Special A Personal Rules

Those are the basic rules of the a personal: if the direct object is a person, use a. If not, leave it out. Still, there are a couple more rules to this grammar that make it a little more complicated.

First, no matter who or what the direct object is, the a personal is never used with the verb tener or the verb form hay. To translate the sentence, 'Lázaro has many friends,' you would simply say, Lázaro tiene muchos amigos. This is the same way that the sentence, 'Yolanda has many books', would be translated as Yolanda tiene muchos libros.

Likewise, the sentence, 'There are five men,' would translate to Hay cinco hombres, the same way that the sentence, 'There are five chairs,' would be translated as Hay cinco sillas.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support