Personal A

A personal
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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 la mujer. I see the woman.
¿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.
Está paseando a tres perros. She’s walking three dogs.

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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Spanish personal a