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Q: Spanish Question - al before infinative verb ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Spanish Question - al before infinative verb
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: patrice29-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 02 Mar 2005 06:42 PST
Expires: 01 Apr 2005 06:42 PST
Question ID: 483418
I use an online translator that says 'al' before an infinative verb is
translated 'when' or 'after'. However my dictionary makes no mention
of this form of the word.

ex. al encontrar - when finding, after finding ?
    al alcanzar -  when reaching, after reaching ?

Any clarity would be greatly appreciated.
Subject: Re: Spanish Question - al before infinative verb
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 02 Mar 2005 11:28 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi patrice,

   'Al', in the example you give:  'Al encontrar', 'al' is used as
'upon', as in 'Upon finding the car keys, I'll go to the library' =
'Al encontrar los llaves, voy a la bibiliteca'. In English, in some
cases, we CAN say 'when' instead, as in 'When I find the car keys,
I'll go to the library'. It is much easier to think about "upon", even
though in everyday speech, we don't use 'upon' much in English. I find
it much easier to remember 'upon' as it's meaning.

'Al' is used with an infinitive, as you already surmised.

Al llegar a mi casa, voy a dormir = Upon arriving home, I'll go to
sleep. When I get home, I'll go to sleep.

Al alcanzar su meta, se retiró. = Upon reaching his goal, he retired.
When he reached his goal, he retired. After he reached his goal, he

Al montar el avion, tome un asiento. = Upon boarding the plane, I took a seat.

Llegamos tarde al encontrar el autopista cerrada. = We arrived late
upon finding the freeway closed.

Cierre la ventana al terminar= Close the window upon finishing/when you are done.

Ella no quiso el pastel al saber que es de fresa. = She did not want
the cake upon learning it has strawberries. (Note, 'pastel' means
'cake' in some countries, and 'pie' in others.

Marta se desmayó al ver el cadáver de su hermano. = Marta fainted upon
seeing her brother's dead body.

Using 'al' makes the sound of the sentence flow easier. I find it
rolls off the tongue nicely! 'Al montar el avion' is smoother than
'Despues que me monto el avion'...

A + el also = al   When referring to a masculine noun, a=to  el=the = al
As in 'Daselo al jefe' = Give it to the boss. 
      'Llevalo al carro' = Take it to the car

These pages may help you, as a beginner:

Al leer ésta respuesta, favor de pedir una Answer Clarification, si
hay algo que no entiende. = Upon reading this answer, please ask for
an Answer Clarification, if there is anything you don't understand!

Le saluda atentamente, Crabcakes

PS. Online translators are still very imprecise, and can't be counted
on for accuracy! They can assist you in getting an "idea", but most of
what I have seen  do a very poor job! Use caution!
patrice29-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Yes crabcakes, the 'upon' thing does seem easy to remember.
Thanks for another very clear answer.

I'm getting much better with the text, but understand it verbally is
still hit and miss. Mostly miss!  But maybe the hits will become more
common eventually if I keep gathering these little pieces. Thanks


Subject: Re: Spanish Question - al before infinative verb
From: eklipse-ga on 02 Mar 2005 09:41 PST
Both translations are correct. I don't know a direct translation for al.
Al terminar el trabajo ire a descansar - when the work finalize I will go rest
                                         after work finalize I will go rest
Both refers what will happen after a task ends. Maybe after is more
correct but, for a spanish translator (like me) sounds equivalent.
Subject: Re: Spanish Question - al before infinative verb
From: crabcakes-ga on 02 Mar 2005 13:01 PST
Thanks, otra vez, por las estrellas y la propina!
Thanks again, for the stars and the tip!

You ARE getting it!

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