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The use of "a" before a verb

haroelantSpanish NoviceTue, 10 Jun 2008 16:41:14 +0000
I have a question on the following sentence found in the Advanced Spanish Book, "Quise aprender a tocar el piano". As I understand it, tocar means to play. I remember from the Beginning Spanish course, one must put "a" before addressing people. Tocar though is a verb, so why would one need to put "a" before tocar since tocar itself has a "to" as part of its definition?

Thank you,

Henk Roelant
nohabloSpanish NoviceWed, 11 Jun 2008 01:54:36 +0000
The "a" is there not because of tocar but because aprender is followed by "a" when it means to learn to do something. You can say "aprender español" (no "a"), but when you say you're learning todosomething, such as learningto playthe piano or learningto readSpanish, then aprender is followed by "a," as in the sentence you quoted.

There are lots of books that can offer you lists of verbs that sometimes or always take a preposition (the usual prepositions they take are a, con, de, en, para, and por). One useful book that provides great information about verb tenses and also a list of verbs that take a preposition isSpanish Verb Tensesby Dorothy Richmond.
haroelantSpanish NoviceThu, 12 Jun 2008 20:39:24 +0000
Thank you.

Henk Roelant
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