Grammar: Prepositions

Grammar: Prepositions

Understanding Prepositions

  • Understand the use of prepositions: In Spanish, prepositions are words that link different parts of a sentence together e.g. en (in), con (with), por (for), etc. They explain relationships between the subject, object and other parts of the sentence.

Common Single-word and Two-word Prepositions

  • One-word prepositions: Start by familiarising yourself with the most common one-word Spanish prepositions. These include “a” (to), “de” (of), “en” (in), and “con” (with).
  • Two-word prepositions: These are phrases composed of two words which function like a single preposition. For instance, “debajo de” (underneath), “encima de” (on top of), “cerca de” (near to), and “lejos de” (far from).

Prepositions in Different Contexts

  • Prepositions with Verbs: Some Spanish verbs require specific prepositions to follow them. For instance, the verb “pensar” (to think) is frequently used with “en” (in). An example would be “pienso en ti” (I think of you).
  • Using Prepositions to Show Location: Spanish prepositions are used to indicate location. For example, “estar en casa” (to be at home), “ir al cine” (to go to the cinema), or “vivir en Madrid” (to live in Madrid).
  • Direct and Indirect Object Prepositions: In Spanish, direct objects don’t need a preposition, but indirect objects do. Remember this when using verbs that have indirect objects. Example: “Le di el libro a Juan.” (I gave the book to Juan).
  • Time expressions with prepositions: Prepositions are often used in time expressions, such as “a las cinco” (at five o’clock), “en invierno” (in winter), “por la mañana” (in the morning).

Specific prepositions ‘Por’ and ‘Para’

  • Por and Para: These two prepositions can be particularly tricky as both can be translated as “for” in English but are used in different contexts. “Por” is used to express reason or motive, means or way, and “para” is used to express purpose or direction, or in order to.

Common Preposition Mistakes

  • Avoiding Preposition at the end of the sentence: In Spanish, never end a sentence with a preposition. This is unlike English where ending a sentence with a preposition can often be acceptable.
  • Common Preposition Errors: Be aware of common mistakes such as using “en” when you should use “a” and vice versa, as the meaning of your sentence can drastically change with these small errors.

Remember to practice regularly with native speakers or language apps to get used to natural preposition usage. Make note of any habits or patterns you see in how prepositions are used in different contexts.