Personal A

A personal

Although normally prepositions are not used in front of direct objects, in Spanish there is a special preposition called the personal a which precedes direct objects that refer to people, personified nouns, and animals.

Por ejemplo …

Veo a mi hermano.   I see my brother.
¿Quieres a Miguel?   Do you like Miguel?
¡Invitemos a nuestros profesores!   Let’s invite our teachers!
Todo el mundo teme a la muerte.   Everyone fears death.
Compré a un perro.   I bought a dog.

The personal a is also used in front of pronouns that replace people.

Veo a alguien.   I see someone.
No quiere a nadie.   He doesn’t love anyone.
Invité a mi hermano.
¿Invitaste a lo mío?
  I invited my brother.
Did you invite mine?

The personal a is used in front of interrogative words like quién and cuánto when the answer to the question requires the personal a.

¿A quién llamaste?
Llamé a Paco.
  Who did you call?
I called Paco.
¿A cuántos conoces?
Conozco a Ana y Luís.
  How many (of the people) do you know?
I know Ana and Luís.

The personal a is usually not used after the verb tener, with collective nouns, or with nouns referring to unspecified people.

Tengo dos hermanos.   I have two brothers.
Vi el grupo ayer.   I saw the group yesterday.
Buscamos un cantador.   We’re looking for a singer.

Related lessons

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