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Spanish contractions

Spanish contractions

Do you know what grammatical contractions are for? In Spanish there are several grammatical contractions that are mandatory when speaking and writing.

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If you want to sound like an authentic native Spanish speaker when communicating with others, using grammatical contractions is essential. But do you know what they are, how to use them and when? In this Enforex article you will learn what Spanish grammatical contractions are and how to use them to sound more natural when speaking.

You can also read this article in Spanish.

What are grammatical contractions in Spanish?

Spanish contractions are a shortened form of two words that are joined together to form one word to make them easier to pronounce and write. They are usually used to make the language more fluent and natural when speaking or writing in Spanish.

In other languages such as English there are also these grammatical contractions, for example: 'don't' for 'do not'; which are more common and varied. However, in Spanish there are very few grammatical contractions.

Spanish contractions are used obligatorily when the conditions for their formation are present. It is incorrect to say “a el” or “de el” when “al” or “del” can be used. Thus, these contractions facilitate the flow of speech and avoid cacophony.

Grammatical contractions are used to:

Preposition + article: a + el and de + el

The best known and most used Spanish contractions are prepositions followed by articles. In this case you can find two:

A + el = al - This contraction is formed with the preposition 'a' and the masculine singular definite article 'el', resulting in 'al'. It is used to indicate direction, movement or destination to a specific place.

De + el = del - This is formed by combining the preposition 'de' with the masculine singular definite article 'el', which results in 'del'. This Spanish contraction indicates possession, origin or relationship.

Spanish grammatical contractions

Here are some examples with both grammatical contractions:

Preposition + prepositional pronoun

Another Spanish contraction is the preposition 'con' joined to the prepositional pronouns: 'mi', 'ti' and 'si'. In this case, the accent of the pronouns disappears to join 'con-' as a prefix and '-go' as a suffix. Thus, the grammatical contraction would look like this:

Here are some examples:

Verb + direct and indirect pronouns

When direct and indirect pronouns are used in the infinitive, gerund or participle of a verb, they are contracted into a single word. Also, in the process, you should note that sometimes a tilde is added to the grammatical contractions.

Pronouns that are added to verbs are: 'me', 'la', 'lo', 'se' or 'te'. Here are some examples:

Spanish contractions

Informal contractions in Spanish

As you have seen above, grammatical contractions in Spanish are obligatory and follow an established rule. However, in colloquial language you can find Spanish contractions that are not included by the RAE and that are not official, but that are used daily.

Here are some examples of informal contractions that you may hear in conversations between native speakers:

You may even overhear a conversation where people put together words that are not in this article, like ‘onde's (donde estás) or ‘entrambos’ (entre ambos). Although this is not grammatically correct, as is the case with the preposition 'para'. However, all languages have this type of contractions, as in English 'gonna' from 'going to'.

Learning Spanish is a challenge, especially with grammatical rules like these. Therefore, if you want to improve your language and communication skills, don't hesitate to sign up for a Spanish course in Spain and learn from professionals who will help you understand grammatical contractions and much more.

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