Prepositions in Spanish: How to use them

Your Practical Guide to Preposiciones

Share:

prepositions in spanish: how to use them

Your Guide to Preposiciones (Prepositions in Spanish)


Like in any other language, prepositions in Spanish are connecting words that we use to indicate a relationship between a word (which can be a verb, noun or adjective) and a noun phrase (or noun or pronoun).



The most common list of Spanish prepositions goes as follows:

  • a
  • ante
  • bajo
  • con
  • contra
  • de
  • desde
  • durante
  • en
  • entre
  • hacia
  • hasta
  • mediante
  • para
  • por
  • según
  • sin
  • sobre
  • tras
  • versus
  • vía

Unfortunately, prepositions often can’t be translated literally, which tends to discourage Spanish students. However, bear in mind that prepositions are hard in any language, because, more often than not, they require a lot of memorization.


In this article, you’re going to find some of the most frequent usages for every Spanish preposition!



Destination: Voy a la escuela = I’m going to school


Specific time: Nos vemos a las nueve = See you at nine


Direct object: Vi a Juan = I saw Juan
When talking about a person or animal


Indirect object, always: Le di una carta a Juan = I gave Juan a letter


Speed: El auto va a ochenta kilómetros por hora = The car goes fifty miles per hour


Price: Lo compré a 50 pesos = I bought this for 50 pesos



Location: Ante la casa = In front of the house



Location: Bajo la alfombra = under the rug



This one is easily translated. It basically means “with”


Company: Salí con mis amigos = I went out with my friends


Instrument: Come con un tenedor = Eat with a fork



Rivalry: Nuestro equipo jugó contra tu equipo = Our team played against your team


Position: Juan se apoyó contra la pared = Juan leaned against the wall



“DE” is the most used word in Spanish. Therefore, you are going to hear it and use it a lot!


“DE” preposition can have a multiplicity of meanings, such as:


Possession: La casa de mi madre = My mother’s house


Origin: Él es de Argentina = He’s from Argentina


Materials: Una silla de madera = A wooden chair


Content: Un vaso de agua = A glass of water


Matter or topic: Un libro de Historia = A History book


Time: Trabaja de nueve a cinco = He works from nine ‘till five


Period of time: De noche = At night; de niño = When he was a kid


Besides, “de” has many other uses, which can vary according to the Spanish dialect you’re speaking or hearing. Just remember: this is the most used word in the Spanish language, therefore you can easily say that it’s everywhere!



Origin (time): No he visto a Juan desde 2014 = I haven’t seen Juan since 2014


Origin (place): Viajamos desde Buenos Aires hasta Córdoba = We traveled from Buenos Aires to Cordoba


Perspective: Desde mi punto de vista… = From my point of view…



Simultaneity: No prestó atención durante la clase = He didn’t pay attention during the class



Location: Estoy en Buenos Aires = I’m in Buenos Aires



Time (month, year, decade, etc.): Months: Eso sucedió en Julio = That happened on July


Festivities: La vimos en Navidad = We saw her at Christmas


On this list, we have given you some of the most common usages. However, this preposition is also quite frequent. In consequence, there are a lot of expressions, constructions and idioms that include “en”. For example, “en persona” (“In person”) or “en un segundo” (“In a second”). Very often, you’re going to have to learn them one by one and memorize them!



This preposition can be translated as both “between” or “among”.


Location: Él está sentado entre Laura y Andrés = He’s sitting between Laura and Andrés


Time: Iré a tu casa entre las cuatro y las cinco = I’ll go to your house between four and five


Figurative middle level: La pared es de un color entre amarillo y verde = The wall is some kind of mix between yellow and green



Direction: Está corriendo hacia el bosque = He’s running towards the forest



Limit (time): Trabajo hasta las cinco = I work until five o’clock


Limit (space): Viajamos desde Buenos Aires hasta Córdoba = We traveled from Buenos Aires to Cordoba


Inclusion: ¡Hasta Juan vino! = Even Juan came! (However, here, it is not used as a preposition, but as an adverb).



This preposition can be translated as “by means of” or “thanks to”.



Everybody tends to mix them up. For more information about the difference between “para” and “por”, check out our blog about these two prepositions.

Check our Por vs Para Blog




This preposition can be translated as “according to” or “depending on”.


Source: Según el manual… = According to the textbook…



Lack: Salimos sin Juan = We went out without Juan



Location: “El libro está sobre la mesa” = “The book is on the table”.


Topic: “El libro es sobre música” = “The book is about music”.



Location: “Se escondió tras la puerta” = “He hid behind the door”.


Time: “Tras la reunión, salieron de la oficina” = “After the meeting, they left the office”.



Opposition, rivalry: “Brasil versus España”.


Similar to “mediante”, it means “by means of”.


Te envié la foto vía mail = I sent you the picture by email

Share this post!

Join the conversation on social:

RELATED POSTS

We have new events and updates every week! Practice your Spanish, learn about Buenos Aires, or prepare for your trip to South America by browsing our blog.

The difference between bien and bueno or muy bien and muy bueno

It is very common for basic –or even advanced– Spanish students to participate in…

HOW TO DOMINATE THE MONSTROUS SUBJUNCTIVE II

So, if you are here, that means that you were able to go through…

The Preterite vs. the Imperfect: Your Go to Guide for Learning the two different past tenses in Spanish

Just like the majority of other Romance languages, Spanish also has two past tenses…