Grammar & Vocabulary

Personal a (again!)

phone-call
«¿Estás llamando a María? No, estoy llamando a Sarah». / PUBLIC DOMAIN

Here’s the “personal a rule” again:

Level: All levels!

Rule: Whenever the object of a verb is a person (or a pet), we must add “a” between the verb and the object.

Examples of verb objects, in English:

I call Peter.
She buys a house.
We cook pasta.
I love my dog.
They visit my sister.
Mary and Carlos know Vincent.

The same examples, in Spanish:

Yo llamo a Peter.
Ella compra una casa.
Nosotros cocinamos pasta.
Yo amo a mi perro.
Ellos visitan a mi hermana.
Mary y Carlos conocen a Vincent.

It’s simple, isn’t it? When the object is a person, you add “a”. When the object is a thing, you never add “a”.

Practice – Translate the following sentences into Spanish

1. She hated her boss.
2. They take the train every day.
3. Jane never eats pizza.
4. John and his friend Jake called their friend Ann.
5. The company hired Jeff.
6. Elsa dances with Pedro every Thursday.
7. Carla is always helping her sister.
8. I always drink coffee in the morning.

 

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Correct answers for Practice – Translate the following sentences into Spanish:

1. Ella odiaba/odió a su jefe. 2. Ellos toman el tren cada día. 3. Jane nunca come pizza. 4. John y su amigo Jake llamaron a su amiga Ann. 5. La empresa/compañía contrató a Jeff. 6. Elsa baila con Pedro cada jueves. 7. Carla siempre está ayudando a su hermana. 8. Yo siempre bebo café por/en la mañana.

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