spanish prepositions

Lesson 6: Spanish Prepositions

PREPOSICIONES (Prepositions)

  • Spanish prepositions are small words that let us connect different words in a phrase, for example:

El balcon de la casa esta lleno de flores.

(The balcony of the house is full of flowers)

  • They have neither gender nor number. They are invariable.


El departamento de las primas.

(The flat of the cousins)

  • There are simple prepositions, i.e. those formed by one word; or compound prepositions, i.e. formed by more than one word.
  • They can show a relation of movement, time, manner, purpose, place, cause, possession, origin, order, position between two or more objects within the same phrase, among other relations.

This is a list of simple Spanish prepositions

A   (at, to)   

Ante   (before, in the face of, compared to)  

Bajo   (under, below)      

Con   (with) 

Contra   (against)  

De   (of, about)     

Desde    (since, from)     

Durante    (during, for)    

En   (in, on, into, by)       

(between, among, amongst)    <![if !vml]><![endif]>    ENTRE

Excepto   (except (for))   

Hacia   (towards, about, around)        

Hasta   (as far as, up to, until, till)      

Mediante   (by means of)

Para   (for, (in order) to, towards)        

Por   (because of, (in order) to, for, by, through, per)        

Salvo   (except (for))       

Segun   (according to, depending on)

Sin   (without)         

Sobre   (on (top of), over, above, about, upon)<![if !vml]><![endif]> SOBRE

Tras   (behind, after)       

And this is a list of the most common compound Spanish prepositions:

Ademas de (as well as, in addition to)

Al lado de (beside)           <![if !vml]><![endif]>  AL LADO DE

Alrededor de (around, about)   

Antes de (before)  

A pesar de (despite)         

Cerca de (near, close to)  <![if !vml]><![endif]>     CERCA DE


Con respecto a (in respect of)  

De acuerdo con (in accordance with)

Debajo de (under, underneath)  <![if !vml]><![endif]>   DEBAJO DE


Delante de (in front of)     <![if !vml]><![endif]> DELANTE DE

Dentro de (in, inside, into, within)         <![if !vml]><![endif]>     DENTRO DE

Despues de (after)

Detras de (behind) <![if !vml]><![endif]> DETRAS DE

Encima de (on (top of), above)   <![if !vml]><![endif]>  ENCIMA DE

En cuanto a (as regards) 

Enfrente de (opposite)

Frente a (opposite, towards)       <![if !vml]><![endif]>   FRENTE A

Fuera de (except for, apart from)            <![if !vml]><![endif]>     FUERA DE


Junto a (next to, right by, near)  

Lejos de (far (away) from, etc.)


Position of Spanish prepositions

  • Generally, prepositions are placed before the names or pronouns in the phrase.


Tomas esta en casa. (Thomas is at home)

  • Frequently, prepositions are placed at the beginning of the phrase, even when they start by an interrogative word.


?Con quien juega Martina?   (Who does Martina play with?)


  • When we use a relative pronoun, we generally find the preposition before the relative pronoun.


Esta es la case en donde creci.  (This is the house where I grew up)

  • The following are the most common mistakes when using prepositions:

1.    The phrase “a por” is very common in Spain: Voy a por la nina. (I´m going to pick up the girl)

2.    The preposition cannot be used as a complement of another noun:


cuestiones a tratar: cuestiones por tratar  (Issues to deal with)

problemas a resolver: problemas por resolver. (problems to tackle)

camisa a rayas: camisa de rayas  (stripped shirt)

  • Spanish prepositions do not accept adjectives next to them. However, it is very common to find phrases with prepositions followed by adjectives. Nevertheless, we should b ear in mind that said use is incorrect.



a)      El cuaderno esta debajo tuyo.  (The notebook is under you).

Correct: debajo de ti.


 b)   Susana esta sentada detras suyo. (Susana is sitting behind you)

Correct: esta detras de ti


b)      Se paro delante mio.  (He stood up in front of me)

Correct: delante de mi



1) Select the correct preposition:


1. El autobus giro y se dirigio ……… el centro de la ciudad.(The bus turned and headed downtown)

 a) hacia

 b) hasta


2. He comprado este DVD … Matias. (I bought this DVD for Matias)

 a) para

 b) por


3. He dejado las llaves … la mesa. (I left the keys on the table)

 a) sobre

 b) entre


4. Estuve trabajando  …… la tarde, cuando llego mi tia y nos fuimos al parque, (I have been working until the evening, when my aunt arrived and we went to the park)

a) durante

 b) hasta


5. Mi casa esta … al rio.(My house is next to the river)

a) en

 b) junto a


6. Fui a cenar …. Cecilia. (I went to dine with Cecilia)

 a) con

 b) por

2) Find the prepositions and say what they mean:

El nino coloco su diente bajo la almohada y se fue a dormir.(The kid put his tooth below the pillow and went to sleep).

Bajo: lugar place  – a: purpose


Desde Buenos Aires, tardamos cinco horas hasta Cordoba.(From Buenos Aires, it took us five hours to get to Cordoba).

Desde: origin

Hasta: place


En el invierno, estuvo con Fernando en Suiza.  (In winter, he was with Fernando in Switerland)

En: time

En: place

Con: companionship


Fuimos al cine con Maria. (We went to the park with Maria)

 Al (a + el = al): place

Con: companionship


Aprobo el examen con un gran esfuerzo.  (He passed the exam with a lot of effort)

Con: manner


La tienda es de su padre. (The shop belongs to his father).

De: possession


3) Correct the following sentences:


En los examenes siempre se sienta detras suyo.(He always sits next to him/her for the exams)

Detras de el/ella


Ponte la camisa a rayas.(Put on the stripped shirt.)

Camisa de rayas


Se sento delante mio y me enfade.(He sat in front of me and I got angry.)

Delante de mi


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