How To Use the Spanish Preposition ‘Hacia’

Common preposition usually means ‘toward’

balloons-color.jpeg
Los globos vuelan hacia el cielo. (The balloons are soaring toward the sky.).

Camdiluv / Creative Commons.

Hacia is a Spanish preposition typically meaning "toward." It is usually used to indicate motion toward a person or object, although it can also be used to indicate a favorable attitude toward a person or object.

Hacia is pronounced something like OSS-yah. It should not be confused with hacía, a conjugated form of the verb hacer.

Using Hacia To Indicate Motion Toward

Here are examples of using hacia when referring to motion toward a person or thing. Although "toward" is the most common translation, other prepositions sometimes work as well.

  • Los jovenes andaron hacia la dirección del lago. (The youths walked in the direction of the lake.)
  • Corrió hacia el coche para tratar de sacar a su amigo, vivo y conciente. (He ran at the car in order to try to remove his friend, who was alive and conscious.)
  • Girar hacia la izquierda y seguir hacia el oeste cinco millas. (Turn toward the left and keep on going toward the west for five miles.)
  • Mi hermana empezó a gatear hacia nuestro padre. (My sister began to crawl toward our father.)

Hacia can be used with abajo, adelante, arriba, and atrás, respectively, to mean "downward," "forward," "upward," and "backward." Similarly, it can be used with points of the compass and other words to act as the equivalent of the English suffix "-ward."

  • Mover el cursor hacia adelante al final de la línea. (Move the cursor forward to the end of the line.)
  • La anaforia es la tendencia de los ojos a moverse hacia arriba cuando están en reposo. (Anaphoria is the tendency for the eyes to move upward when they are at rest.)
  • Los vientos más fuertes del planeta avanzan hacia el este a una velocidad de 1.600 kilómetros por hora. (The planet's strongest winds blow eastward at a speed of 1,600 kilometers per hour.)
  • ¿Qué pasaría si un satélite se dirigiera a toda velocidad hacia la Tierra? (What would happen if a satellite were directed earthward at full speed?)

The motion can be figurative as well as literal:

  • Viajamos hacia la libertad económica. (We are journeying toward economic liberty.)
  • El mundo camina dormido hacia un desastre climático. (The world is sleepwalking its way toward a climate disaster.)
  • Con un ritmo enérgico, “Un paso hacia la paz” es una canción llena de optimismo y esperanza. (With an energetic rhythm, A Step Toward Peaceis a song full of optimism and hope.)

Using Hacia for Direction Without Motion

Use of hacia doesn't always indicate motion. It is used often with mirar and other verbs to indicate the direction someone is looking, either literally or figuratively. And it can also be used to indicate the existence of someone or something in a certain direction.

  • Natalia miró hacia Mateo con un gesto de frustración. (Natalia looked toward Mateo with a look of frustration on her face.)
  • La organización mira hacia el futuro tras un año de cambio. (The organization is looking toward the future after a year of change.)
  • Desde Atenas y hacia el norte hay trenes regulares diarios a muchas ciudades. (From Athens and toward the north there are regular daily trains to many cities.)
  • En el camino hacia la escuela hay ruido y mucho tránsito. (On the road toward the school there is much noise and traffic.)

Using Hacia for Expressing Attitudes

Hacia can be used in expressing emotions or attitudes toward a person or thing:

  • Tiene sentimientos más profundos hacia ella, (He has very deep feelings for her.)
  • El sondeo reveló una disminución de la simpatía popular hacia el corte. (The poll showed a loss of popular sympathy for the court.)
  • Más pruebas apuntan hacia los rebeldes. (More evidence is pointing to the rebels.)
  • Es importante desarrollar actitudes positivas hacia la diversidad. (It is important to develop positive attitudes about diversity.)

Using Hacia in Time Expressions

Finally, hacia is sometimes used to express approximations of time:

  • Llega en helicóptero hacia las cinco de la mañana para traer provisiones. (He arrives by helicopter at about 5 a.m. to bring provisions.)
  • Fue construido hacia 1970. (It was built around 1970.)
  • El tren llega hacia las 10 de la mañana a Cajicá. (The train arrives around 10 a.m. at Cajicá.)

Key Takeaways

  • The Spanish preposition hacia is usually the equivalent of "toward" when it is used to indicate a direction of motion or attention.
  • Hacia can also be used as the equivalent of the suffix "-ward" when used to indicate direction.
  • Hacia is also used in referring to attitudes toward or about something.