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The sentence I was trying to translate is:

We had to cut short our vacation due to the storm.

A Spanish learning site gave the translation as:

  • Tuvimos que acortar las vacaciones debido a la tormenta.

The “a” in this sentence really got me confused. Is it really appropriate? I was taught that it’s used only if the object is a person (e.g., Voy a ver a mi abuela). Here, that is not the case as the storm is neither a person nor a personified noun. Would it be less appropriate or incorrect to say, “…debido la tormenta.”?

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It is appropiate. This "a" would translate the english "to". Due to = debido a .What follows "a" is the reason always. Example: "Debido a un corte de luz" -> Due to an electricity outage. "an electricity outage" is the reason for the cut. Try always to transform this kind of sentences into: "An electricity outage was the reason for ..."

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    On the second part of the question, it would be incorrect to say "debido la tormenta". – Adriano Varoli Piazza Apr 4 '14 at 13:04
  • Nuestro poder de compra se ha visto reducido debido a la inflación – user55514 Oct 14 '15 at 16:43

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