Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The sentence means "I am afraid of failure". Why do we use Le tengo instead of Yo tengo or Tengo? Moreover, why are we using al instead of de for of?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

For the first question, it's not compulsory at all to use "Le tengo" instead of "tengo" or "Yo tengo". It's a matter of choice on the speaker. It is true than in Spanish the subject is usually omitted, but it's not compulsory to do so. I think this answers the first part of your question.

As leis a pronoun referring to miedo al fracaso, Le tengo instead of tengodoesn't add any extra meaning to the sentence, and in fact thatleis reiterative and redundant.

On the second part, al is the contracted form of a el. This one is however compulsory to use, except in the case of personal names (such as Sara, but including brands that use the word El in their name, for example). This way, a el fracasois contracted to al fracaso.

share|improve this answer
it's "a el fracaso" that is contracted to "al fracaso". – rupps Mar 31 '14 at 0:22
Haha, yeah, I mixed miedo and fracaso! Editing it now – pHonta Apr 1 '14 at 8:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.