Introduction to Prepositions

  • Prepositions are words that relate a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. They indicate positioning, timing, direction, and many other relationships.

  • The main prepositions in Spanish include a (to, at), de (of, from), en (in, on), con (with), sin (without), por (for, by, through), and para (for, to).

Specific Uses of Prepositions

  • ‘A’ is typically used before a specific person or pet. For example, “Veo a Maria” (I see Maria). However, it is not used before non-specific people or objects. For example, “Veo una película” (I watch a movie).

  • ‘De’ is mainly used to show possession, for example, “El libro de María” (Maria’s book). It can also be used to show origin, for instance, “Soy de España” (I am from Spain).

  • The preposition ‘en’ is used to indicate location or a point in time. For example, “Estoy en la casa” (I am in the house), “Estamos en 2021” (We are in 2021).

  • ‘Con’ and ‘sin’ are used to express ‘with’ and ‘without’ respectively. For instance, “Voy al cine con amigos” (I go to the cinema with friends), “No tengo dinero sin trabajo” (I have no money without work).

  • ‘Por’ and ‘para’ both translate to ‘for’ in English but they are not interchangeable. ‘Por’ is used to express reasons or causes, and exchange or substitution, as well as to indicate movement through a place or length of time. For example, “Estudiamos por la prueba” (We study for the test). ‘Para’ is used to indicate purpose, destination or recipient. For example, “Estudiamos para aprender” (We study to learn).

Prepositions and Verbs

  • It’s important to note that certain verbs in Spanish require specific prepositions after them. Some common examples are “pensar en” (to think about), “soñar con” (to dream of), “esperar a” (to wait for).

  • Sometimes, the preposition changes the meaning of the verb. For example, “jugar a” means to play a game or sport, but “jugar con” means to play with (someone, something).

  • It’s essential to memorize the combinations of verbs and prepositions, as they are often not directly translated from English.