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Identifying and Using Common Spanish Prepositions

Prepositions are useful tools for joining different words, clauses, or phrases. In Spanish, they can connect nouns to nouns, verbs to verbs, or verbs to nouns/pronouns. Spanish has dozens of commonly used prepositions, which are presented in the following table. But before you start tossing prepositions into your Spanish sentences, you should know how they fit into different sentence types.

The following examples illustrate how prepositions work in various sentences:

  • Noun to noun: Necesito esa hoja de papel. (I need that piece of paper.)

  • Verb to verb: El niño empieza a reír. (The child begins to laugh.)

  • Verb to noun: Ella estudia con sus amigas. (She studies with her friends.)

  • Verb to pronoun: ¿Qué piensas de ellos? (What do you think about them?)

You use prepositions before the names of geographical locations to refer to travel and location:

  • Mi familia está en Puerto Rico. (My family is in Puerto Rico.)

  • Voy a España. (I’m going to Spain.)

And now, here are the prepositions and prepositional phrases you’ll encounter most in Spanish.

Common Spanish Prepositions
Preposition Meaning Preposition Meaning
A to, at detrás de behind
a eso de (+ time) at about (time) durante during
a fuerza de by persevering en in, on, by
a pesar de in spite of en cambio on the other hand
a tiempo on time en casa de at the house of
a través (de) across, through en lugar de instead of
acerca de About en vez de instead of
además de Besides encima de above, on top of
alrededor de Around enfrente de opposite, in front of
antes (de) before entre between
cerca de near frente a in front of
con with fuera de outside of
contra against hacia toward
de of, from, about hasta until
de otro modo otherwise lejos de far
debajo de beneath, under por for, by
delante de in front of para for
dentro de inside, within según according to
desde since sin without
después (de) after sobre over, above, on, upon
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