What is the difference between al and a el? Al and A el are the same, right?

1 Answer 1


Al is the contraction of a el, the preposition a (at/to) and the article el (the):

Dale esto a-el cartero.

Dale esto al cartero.

Give this to the mailman.

You must always write al, never a el, unless you're talking of a proper noun that includes El:

Vamos a El Salvador.

Let's go to El Salvador.

A él is the preposition a and the personal pronoun él (him).

Dale esto a él.

Give this to him.

  • 2
    "The rae now recomends not to write él with diacritic" - Do you have a source for this by any chance? I'd very much like to read about this.
    – Cat
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 2:53
  • I apparently got mistaken. They never said such thing.
    – Jaume
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:07
  • 3
    Probably worth noting that it used to be common to see ál (contraction of a él — back in the 1600s and all), but after a while in speech él was being fully distinguished and so in writing it was stopped too. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:54

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