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Prepositions - A Comprehensive List with Examples
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Video Lesson
Summary of Lesson
A specific look at 5 of the most common Spanish prepositions, (a / de / en / por / para). These are the most common prepositions in Spanish that have multiple meanings when translated into English.
Looking at some of the most common prepositions that are used to describe where someone or something is.
Looking at other common prepositions in Spanish which consist of only one word.
Looking at other common prepositions in Spanish which consist of more than one word.
   
  What you can learn from this lesson
   
To have a good understanding of when and how 5 of the most common Spanish prepositions (a / de / en / por / para), are used in conversation.
Appreciating how the choice of preposition in both Spanish and English can often be very different.
Appreciating how some of the most common Spanish and English prepositions are used to describe physical location.
Having knowledge of some of the most commonly used prepositions that exist in Spanish.
Being aware that many Spanish prepositions consist of more than one word.
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PART 1

 

The first part of this lesson looks at five of the most common Spanish prepositions as follows:

 

a

to, at, on, onto, (by means of)

de

from, of, about

en

in, at, on, by

por 

for, by, along, through, around, over

para

to, in order to, for

 

For a general understanding of what prepositions are and how they are used in both Spanish and English take a look at the lesson, ‘An introduction to prepositions and relative pronouns’. This lesson also looks at some of the difficulties faced by students when learning Spanish prepositions.

 

For a comprehensive list of prepositions that are used to form adverbs take a look at the lesson, ‘Adverbs part 2’.

 

For information and lists of verbs that are used in conjunction with different prepositions take a look at the lesson, ‘Infinitive verbs’.


Note: When the preposition 'a' is placed before the singular masculine article 'el' the two words are added together to become 'al'

 

Preposition - a

Meaning

Types of sentences

Examples sentences

to

places / destinations

Ellos se fueron a Escocia.

 

 

They went to Scotland .

 

indicating motion (onto)

Se cayó al suelo.

 

 

It fell to the ground.

 

to indicate direction

El camino a la destrucción.

 

The path to destruction.

 

with indirect object pronouns

Él le escribió a ella.

 

(the personal 'a')  

He wrote to her.

 

with the verb 'ir' (to go)

Voy a pintar el techo.

 

 

I'm going to paint the roof.

 

when joining some verbs

Empezó a funcionar.

 

 

It started to work.

at

indicating position

Él se sentó a la mesa .

 

(after certain verbs only)  

He sat at the table.

 

with times

A las cinco y media.

 

 

At five thirty .

 

with rates

A la velocidad de la luz.

 

 

At the speed of light.

 

DON'T use 'a' to say where someone is. USE 'en' instead.

 

 

Estaban en la fiesta.

 

 

They were at the party

on

in certain set phrases

Vamos a ir a pie.

 

 

We are going to go on foot.

 

 

¿Llegaremos a tiempo?

 

 

Will we arrive on time?

 

 

Tú necesitas ponerte a dieta.

 

 

You need to go on a diet.

onto

to indicate motion

Ella se echó a la cama.

 

 

She threw herself onto the bed.



Note: When the preposition 'de' is placed before the singular masculine article 'el' the two words are joined together to make 'del'

Preposition - de

Meaning

Type of sentences

Examples - Spanish

from

to say where we are from

Soy de Rumania.

 

 

I'm from Romania .

of

to relate one thing to another

Dos kilos de patatas.

 

 

Two kilos of potatoes.

 

to say what something is made

La casa es hecha de madera .

 

of 

The house is made of wood.

about

when saying what we know

No mucho de eso.

 

 

I don't know much about that.

 

what things are concerning

Una película de leones.

 

 

A movie about lions.

various

with comparisons (numbers)

Menos de cinco minutos.

 

 

Less than five minutes.

 

after certain adjectives

Sera difícil de cambiar.

 

 

It will be difficult to change.

 

after certain verbs

No me recuerdo de ti.

 

 

I don't remember you.

 

possession

Es el libro de Alan.

 

 

It's Alan’s book.

 

what something contains

Una botella de cidra.

 

 

A bottle of cider.

 

to form some nouns

Un cepillo de dientes.

 

 

A toothbrush.

 

with superlative adjectives

El más grande de todos.

 

 

The biggest of all.

 

to indicate cause

Vamos a morir de hambre.

 

 

We're going to die of hunger.

 

with times (hours / minutes)

Es diez de la noche.

 

 

It's ten at night.



Preposition - en

Meaning

Types of sentences

Examples - Spanish

in

indicating physical location

En el centro .

 

 

In the centre.

 

with times (hours / minutes)

Vengo en dos minutos.

 

 

I'm coming in two minutes.

 

with times / dates

En verano,pero no en junio.

 

 

In summer, but not in June.

at

indicating physical location

Estaba en la fiesta.

 

 

I was at the party.

 

in certain phrases

En este momento.

 

 

At this moment.

 

with times / dates

En Pascua.

 

 

At Easter.

on

indicating physical location

Yo lo puse en la mesa.

 

 

I put it on the table.

by

with modes of transport

¿En bus, o en avión?

 

 

By bus or by plane?

various

after certain verbs

Ella piensa en él siempre.

 

 

She always thinks about him.



Preposition - por

Meaning

Types of sentences

Examples - Spanish

for

indicating periods of time

Me voy por dos días.

 

 

I’m going for two days.

 

when we mean 'on behalf of '

Ella lo hizo por todos.

 

 

She did it for everyone.

 

in exchange for something

(Yo) vendí uno por nada.

 

 

I sold one for nothing.

 

when we talk about ourselves

(Yo) pienso por mi mismo.

 

 

I think for myself.

by

to indicate how something is

Llámame por celular.

 

done 

Call me by mobile.

 

modes of transport

No me gusta viajar por avión.

 

 

I don't like to travel by plane.

 

to indicate physical location

(yo) lo dejé por la mesa.

 

 

I left it by the table.

along

to indicate position

Pasábamos por la cima.

 

 

We passed along the top.

through

to indicate position

Él manejó por el centro.

 

 

De drove through the centre.

around

to indicate position

Miremos por las tienda.

 

 

Lets look around the shops.

over

to indicate position

Cruzaron por el puente.

 

 

They crossed over the bridge.

various

with periods of time

(Yo) duermo por las mañanas.

 

 

I sleep in the mornings.

 

with rates

Diez por ciento.

 

 

Ten percent.



Preposition - para

Meaning

Types of sentences

Examples - Spanish

to

with infinitive verbs

(Yo) vine para hablar contigo.

 

 

I came to speak to you.

in order to

with infinitive verbs

Él lo hizo para sobrevivir.

 

 

He did it in order to survive.

for

to indicate possession

No es para ti.

 

 

It's not for you.

 

to indicate purpose

¿Para que es?

 

 

What's it for?

so to mean 'in order that' (Tú) tienes que venir para que yo
pueda enseñarte.
    You have to come so I can
show you.

 

 

PART 2

 

The second part of this lesson looks specifically at prepositions that are used to communicate the position of someone or something.

 

Preposition

Meaning

Examples - Spanish

al cabo de

alongside

La policía paró al cabo del coche.

 

 

The police stopped alongside the car.

 

beside / next to

Ese bolígrafo esta al cabo del libro.

 

 

That pen is beside / next to the book.

al lado de

beside

Ponlo al lado de la nevera.

 

 

Put it beside the fridge.

 

next to

Siéntate al lado de mi tia.

 

 

Sit next to my aunt.

a través

through

Ella caminó a través el parque.

 

 

She walked through the park.

alrededor de

around

Es alrededor de la próxima esquina.

 

 

It's around the next corner.

bajo

under

El perro esta bajo la mesa.

 

 

The dog is under the table.

 

underneath

Bajo el cuello hay manchas.

 

 

There are stains underneath the collar.

 

below

La temperatura es bajo cero.

 

 

The temperature is below zero.

cerca de

near

Es cerca del parque.

 

 

It's near the park.

contra

against

Ponlo contra la pared.

 

 

Put it against the wall.

debajo de

under

Busca debajo de la alfombra.

 

 

Look under the carpet.

delante de

in front of

Estacionese delante de ese poste.

 

 

Park in front of that post.

dentro de

inside

Están dentro de la iglesia.

 

 

They are inside the church.

detrás de

behind

La caja fuerte detrás de la pintura.

 

 

The safe behind the picture.

en medio de

in the middle of

En medio de ningún lugar.

 

 

In the middle of nowhere.

encima de

on top of

La bandera encima de la loma.

 

 

The flag on top of the hill.

enfrente de

in front of

Ponte enfrente de la cola.

 

 

Get in front of the queue.

entre

between

El jamón entre el sandwich.

 

 

The ham between the sandwich.

 

among(st)

Hay venados entre los árboles.

 

 

There are dear amongst the trees.

lejos de

far from

Estaban lejos de sus hogares.

 

 

They were far from their homes.

por encima de

above

Voló por encima de las nubes.

 

 

It flew above the clouds.

 

over

Derramó por encima de la cima.

 

 

It spilt over the top.

sobre

on

La paloma sobre el techo.

 

 

The pigeon on the roof.

 

on top of

Está sobre el montón.

 

 

It's on top of the pile.

 

over

(Yo) tropecé sobre la grada.

 

 

I tripped over the step.

tras

behind

Busca tras la puerta.

 

 

Look behind the door.

 

after

Él corrió tras el ladrón.

 

 

He ran after the thief.

vía

via

Ellos volaron vía Buenos Aires.

 

 

They flew via Buenos Aires.

 

PART 3

 

The third part of this lesson looks at some of the most common prepositions consisting of one word that have not so far been listed in parts two and three of this lesson.

 

Preposition

Meaning

Examples - Spanish

ante

before

Se paró ante el juez.

 

 

He stood up before the judge.

como

as

Él me trató como una persona igual .

 

 

He treated me as an equal person.

con

with

Maneja con cuidado.

 

 

Drive with care.

contra against Ellos están contra la guerra
    They are against the war.

desde

from

(Yo) no puedo ver desde aquí.

 

 

I can't see from here.

 

since

No los he visto desde junio.

 

 

I haven't seen them since June.

durante

during

Vete durante la pausa.

 

 

Go during the break.

 

for

Hacía lluvia durante dos meses.

 

 

It rained for two months.

hacia

toward

Ellos se fueron hacia el mar.

 

 

They went toward the sea.

 

to

El niño corrió hacia su papa.

 

 

The boy ran to his dad.

 

around

Estaré en casa hacia las dos.

 

 

I'll be home around two.

hasta

until

Hasta la próxima vez.

 

 

Until the next time.

 

so far

Hasta ahora no hay problema.

 

 

So far there’s no problem.

 

as far as

No vayas hasta la cima.

 

 

Don't go as far as the top.

menos

except

(Yo) como todo menos grasa.

 

 

I eat everything except fat.

 

but

Todos menos Marco.

 

 

Everyone but Marco.

salvo

except

Lleva todo salvo la bicicleta.

 

 

Take everything except the bike.

según

according to

Debería funcionar según esto.

 

 

It should work according to this.

sin

without

Él se salió sin decir adiós.

 

 

He left without saying goodbye.

 

PART 4

 

The fourth part of this lesson looks at some of the most common prepositions consisting of more than one word that have not so far been listed in parts two and three of this lesson.

 

Preposition

Meaning

Examples - Spanish

a causa de

because of

Me caí a causa del viento.

 

 

I fell down because of the wind.

a favor de

in favour of

(Yo) voto a favor de nadie.

 

 

I vote in favour of nobody.

a pesar de

in spite of / despite

Te amo a pesar de todo.

 

 

I love you in spite of / despite everything.

acerca de

about

¿Qué sabes acerca de arroz?

 

 

What do you know about rice?

antes de

before

Piensa antes de hablar.

 

 

Think before speaking.

con respecto a

in respect of

Con respecto a este asunto.

 

 

In respect of this matter.

de acuerdo con

in accordance with

De acuerdo con la ley.

 

 

In accordance with the law.

después de

after

Él pagó después de terminar.

 

 

He paid after he finished.

en vez de

instead of

Iré en vez de usted.

 

 

I'll go instead of you.

hacia abajo

downwards

Apuntalo hacia abajo.

 

 

Point it downwards.

hacia delante

forwards

Ella pisó hacia delantee

 

 

She stepped forwards.

hacia arriba

upwards

Pon la botella hacia arriba.

 

 

Put the bottle upwards.

hacia atrás

backwards

Él movió hacia atrás.

 

 

He moved backwards.

junto a

by

El banco junto a la piscina.

 

 

The bank by the swimming pool.

junto con

together with

Ponlo junto con los demás.

 

 

Put it together with the rest.

 

That concludes this lesson on prepositions. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

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Prepositions - A Comprehensive List with Examples
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