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I'm currently learning Spanish Grammar and hoping someone can help me out.

I have a sentence in my book which is:

Me gusta jugar al fútbol.

And another sentence:

Juega al fútbol todos los días.

Ok, so I know you can't say 'a el'; this changes to 'al', so the second example makes sense - juega.
What I cannot make sense of, is why in the first sentence 'al' follows jugar?

Am I missing something obvious?

  • can you rectify the errors of your question? – Rosenthal Aug 22 '14 at 22:15
  • For the same reason as in the other sentence. "jugar a algo" – Em1 Aug 23 '14 at 20:34
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There is no real difference between your two phrases, both include the preposition a and the article el, and for the same resasons.

About the a preposition, in Spanish (in English, too) there are verbs that are usually used with a given preposition.

Which preposition? you just have to memorize them. But note that when translating between English and Spanish those prepositions usually don't match.

For example, in English, "listen" is used with "to":

I'm listening to music.

But in Spanish, "escuchar" uses no preposition:

Estoy escuchando música.

Another example, "dream" is used with "of" or "about":

Dream of me.

While in Spanish, "soñar" is used with "con" (or sometimes "en"):

Sueña conmigo.

Likewise, in Spanish, "jugar" is used with "a":

I'm playing football.

Estoy jugando al fútbol.

About the el article, it is just that in Spanish, sports, and other similar activities, are normally used with a definite article:

Me gusta el ajedrez.

Vamos a ver el fútbol.

No sé jugar al tenis.

Except when the sport itself works as an adjective, then there is no article:

Una partida de damas.

Un jugador de baloncesto.

Un balón de fútbol.

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    Se puede decir: estoy jugando fútbol – Rosenthal Aug 22 '14 at 22:09
  • @syrux: Sure you can, but I think it is an anglicism. At least it sound very English-like to me. – rodrigo Aug 22 '14 at 22:11
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    @syrux no, no se puede. – rsanchez Aug 22 '14 at 22:42
  • @rsanchez, ¿estás seguro?, ¿por qué? – Rosenthal Aug 22 '14 at 23:27
  • Anglicismo o no es la norma en México, decir "al futbol" es hablar de niños. – Jaime Aug 23 '14 at 0:27
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The article:

Definition: It is a part of the sentence that is placed in front of the noun to indicate gender, number or if the noun is identifiable to the listener.

Types:

  • Definite article: It indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. Examples: el, la, lo, los, las
  • Indefinite article: It indicates that its noun is not a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. Examples: un, una, unos, unas
  • Contracted article: Is the union established between the article "el" and the prepositions "a" and "del". Examples: "al" = "a" + "el"; "del" = "de" + "el".
  • Neutral article: It is used when you refer to abstract nouns. Example: lo, los

why in the first sentence 'al' follows jugar?

The article "al" follows jugar because the articles are always placed in front of the noun.

Ok, so I know you can't say 'a el' this changes to al so the second example makes sense

The article "al" as explained above, is the union of "a" and "el", that is why it is incorrect to write "Me gusta jugar a el fútbol".

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