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Introduction to Prepositions

August 8, 2015
Prepositions

One thing that I’ve been struggling with for sometime, with Spanish, is prepositions. Prepositions are those little words that show the relationship between a noun e.g. car, man, coat, or a pronoun e.g. it, she, they, to another word in a phrase, clause or sentence.

The most common examples of prepositions in English (and those that I believe make up about 90% of preposition usage) are: with, to, from, at, in, of, by, for, on.

They may be ‘little words’ but they are important little words because they reveal place, time, direction, manner and connection, amongst other things.

There are also compound prepositions and they are made up of multiple ‘little words’. Examples are: far from, next door to, on top of. You´ll find that sometimes Spanish uses a compound preposition while English uses just a preposition on its own i.e. one word, and vice versa.

Prepositions are tough because they don’t translate that well from Spanish to English. They are also quite specific in meaning, and so you can’t subsitute one preposition for another. The best thing to do then is to learn a few by heart.

Introduction to Prepositions

Here’s a few examples.

Estoy en casa – I’m at home;

El gato está encima de la mesa – The cat is on the table;

Juan está con María – Juan is with Maria;

Quiero un libro sobre la historia de España – I want a book on Spanish history;

La silla está contra la pared – The chair is against the wall;

El perro está al lado de la ventana – The dog is next to the window;

Tomo té en vez de café – I take tea instead of coffee;

Hoy camino a lo largo de la playa – Today I walk along the beach;

Estamos dentro de la casa – We are inside the house;

Prefiero el té sin azúcar – I prefer tea without sugar;

Esto piso es perfecta para nosotros – This flat is perfect for us;

¿El aeropuerto está lejos de aquí? – Is the airport far from here?;

El catedral está cerca de mi casa – The cathedral is close to my house.

Last week I worked on busting prepositions once and for all with my Italki teacher, Andrés, and we worked on three main themes:

Prepositions of location; prepositions of movement and prepositions of time.

I’ve put my notes from these lessons into three separate blog posts – just click on the links above to go straight to each post.

So, as you can see from the few examples above, there are a lot of prepositions to learn. However, the good thing is that once you’ve learned them, they will be incredible useful to you and will enable you to express yourself much better.

And after a while you’ll find that the compound prepositions just trip off your tongue. So, you’ll find yourself saying ‘cerca de’ (close to), and ‘al lado de’ (next to) without even thinking about them.

Take a look at my other posts on prepositions now: Prepositions of location; prepositions of movement and prepositions of time, and try to learn a handful of prepositions from each one.

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