A is a very important and versatile preposition. It can correspond to many different English words, depending on the context:
Vou a Espanha no próximo ano I will go to Spain in the next year
Ela foi para lá a pé She went there on foot
Isto sabe a morango This tastes like strawberry
A… or A?
It’s easy to mistake the preposition a with the definite article a. They both look the same, but they serve different functions in the sentence. As you hear or read a Portuguese sentence, think about whether “a” would make more sense as:
- the word the (in which case it’s serving as an article for a feminine noun), or
- something else! (in which case it is likely working as a preposition).
Let’s see how we combine the preposition “a” with definite articles (a, as, o, os) to form contractions:
a + a = à
a + as = às
a + o = ao
a + os = aos
Here are a couple examples of these contractions in context: