In Spanish there are some transitive verbs (verbs that have a direct object) and depending on if the object is inanimate (a thing) or animate (a person/animal), the verb works slightly different.
Have a look at these examples:
Yo veo la televisión todos los días.I watch television everyday.
Yo veo a Miguel todos los días.I see Miguel everyday.
Notice how in the first example where the object is a thing (la televisión) there is no preposition "a" between the verb and the object. However in the second example, the object is a person (Miguel), therefore the verb needs preposition "a" before the object.
Let's see other verbs that need the preposition "a":
Visitar (to visit)
¿Vais a visitar La Sagrada Familia este sábado?Are you going to visit La Sagrada Familia this Saturday?
¿Vais a visitar a la abuela este sábado?Are you visiting grandma this Saturday?
Notice how in the second example visitar needs preposition "a" as the direct object is a person (la abuela).
Buscar (to look for)
Estamos buscando una farmacia para comprar paracetamol.We are looking for a chemist to buy some paracetamol.
Estamos buscando a mi gata Lulu. Ha desaparecido.We are looking for my cat Lulu. She has vanished.
Notice how on the second example buscar needs preposition "a" as the direct object is a pet (mi gata).
Conocer (to know)
¿Conoces esa canción tan pegadiza de Luis Fonsi?Do you know that catchy song by Luis Fonsi?
¿Conoces a mi primo Gerardo?Do you know my cousin Gerardo?
Notice how in the second example conocer needs the preposition "a" as the direct object is the speaker's cousin.
You will also find a "personal a" in front of indefinite pronouns which refer to people (e.g alguien, nadie...)
¿Habéis visto a alguien por la calle esta mañana?Have you seen anyone in the street this morning?
No conozco a nadie de Noruega.I don't know anyone from Norway.
See also Personal "a" verbs
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