Yep, you read that correctly. There are only two official contractions in the Spanish language. Let's take a look at them.
We'll start with the contraction al.
Voy al parque
I'm going to the park
So what is al? Al is....
Voy a el parque
A + el = al
Simple isn't it?
But let's back up for a second.
Unlike English, in Spanish you cannot pick and choose when to use (or not use) contractions. In Spanish you are required to use contractions. So that means Voy a el parque is incorrect. If you say it that way you'll be understood, but it will sound really, really weird.
OK, one down, one to go.
Soy del sur
I'm from the South
What is del?
Soy de el sur
De + el = del
And just like with al, you have to use the contraction.
One thing I need to point out is not to confuse el with él.
el = the and él = him or his
So if we have the sentence:
Es de él
We don't use the contraction del.
And that's all there is to it.
Remember when I said there were only two official contractions in the Spanish language? The operative word is "official".
There are actual other unofficial/colloquial contractions you'll hear in Spanish, like this one:
What is Pa'l? It's a contraction of "para el". You may also see it written as simple as pal or pal'.
Casi Muero, Pa'l Facebook
I almost died, this (photo) is for Facebook
If you don't understand the joke and you have 3 minutes to spare, this video says it all. Heck, you should watch it no matter what, it's just plain funny.
By the way, you may have noticed the title of this post uses the word feis. That's a colloquial way to refer to Facebook, pronounced "face", which is used heavily by Mexicans and possible others. You'll also see it referred to as "el face".
And speaking of Facebook, if you need to brush up on your Spanish vocabulary for Facebook, then read my post Si tu ere dominicano dale like.
Let's take a look at some more unofficial contractions.
Para + allá: Pa'lla
Voy pa'lla ahora mismo
I'm headed over there right now
Para + arriba: Pa' rriba
Voy pa' rriba
I'm going upstairs
Para + qué: Pa' qué
Préstame el coche. ¿Pa' qué?
Loan me the car. For what?
Pa' qué tu sepas, voy al super
Just so you know, I'm going to the supermaket
These colloquial contractions are extremely common, so it's a good idea to become familiar with them.
And don't forget to follow me on Facebook!
That's it for today, espero que les sirva.