Languages › Spanish Introduction to Spanish Prepositions They function similarly as in English Share Flipboard Email Print La mujer está bajo el muérdago. (The woman is under the mistletoe.). Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images Spanish Grammar History & Culture Pronunciation Vocabulary Writing Skills By Gerald Erichsen Spanish Language Expert B.A., Seattle Pacific University Gerald Erichsen is a Spanish language expert who has created Spanish lessons for ThoughtCo since 1998. our editorial process Gerald Erichsen Updated November 13, 2019 In some ways, prepositions in Spanish are easy to understand because they usually function similarly their English use. However, prepositions are one of the most challenging aspects of using Spanish because it can be hard to remember what to use. A simple and very common preposition such as en, for example, can be translated not only as "in"—the most common translation—but also as "to," "by," and "about," among others. What Are Prepositions in Spanish? Generally speaking, a preposition is a type of word that expresses a relation to another word or element in the clause. It is used to form a phrase and that phrase, in turn, functions as an adjective or adverb. In both English and Spanish, a preposition is followed by an object—the thing being related to. Let's look at a couple of sample sentences to see how the preposition relates one element of a sentence to another. English: I (subject) am going (verb) to (preposition) the store (prepositional object). Spanish: Yo (subject) voy (verb) a (preposition) la tienda (prepositional object). In the above sentences, "to the store" (a la tienda) forms a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb that complements the verb. Here is an example of a prepositional phrase that functions as an adjective: English: I (subject) see (verb) the shoe (direct object) under (preposition) the table (prepositional object). Spanish: Yo (subject) veo (verb) el zapato (direct object) bajo (preposition) la mesa (prepositional object). Common Spanish Prepositions Like English, Spanish has a few dozen prepositions. The following list shows the most common ones along with meanings and sample sentences. a — to, at, by means of Vamos a la ciudad. (We are going to the city.) Vengo a las tres. (I am coming at three.) Viajamos a pie. (We are traveling by foot.) antes de — before Leo antes da dormirme. (I read before going to sleep.) bajo — under, underneath El perro está bajo la mesa. (The dog is under the table.) cerca de — near El perro está cerca de la mesa. (The dog is near the table.) con — with Voy con él. (I am going with him.) Me gustaría queso con la hamburguesa. (I would like cheese with the hamburger.) contra — against Estoy contra la huelga. (I am against the strike.) de — of, from, indicating possession El sombrero es hecho de papel. (The hat is made of paper.) Soy de Nueva York. (I'm from New York.) Prefiero el carro de Juan. (I prefer Juan's car. / I prefer the car of Juan.) delante de — in front of Mi carro está delante de la casa. (My car is in front of the house.) dentro de — inside, inside of El perro está dentro de la jaula. (The dog is inside the cage.) desde — since, from No comí desde ayer. (I haven't eaten since yesterday.) Tiró el béisbol desde la ventana. (He threw the baseball from the window.) después de — after Comemos después de la clase. (We are eating after class.) detrás de — behind El perro está detrás de la mesa. (The dog is behind the table.) durante — during Dormimos durante la clase. (We slept during the class.) en — in, on Ella está en Nueva York. (She is in New York.) El perro está en la mesa. (The dog is on the table.) encima de — on top of El gato está encima de la casa. (The cat is on top of the house.) enfrente de — in front of El perro está enfrente de la mesa. (The dog is in front of the table.) entre — between, among El perro está entre la mesa y el sofá. (The dog is between the table and the sofa.) Andemos entre los árboles. (Let's walk among the trees.) fuera de — outside, outside of El perro está fuera de la casa. (The dog is outside of the house.) hacia — toward Caminamos hacia la escuela. (We are walking toward the school.) hasta — until, as far has Duermo hasta las seis. (I'm sleeping until six.) Viajamos hasta la ciudad. (We are traveling as far as the city.) para — for, in order to El regalo es para usted. (The gift is for you.) Trabajo para ser rico. (I work in order to be rich.) por — for, by, per Damos gracias por la comida. (We give thanks for the meal.) Fue escrito por Juan. (It was written by Juan.) El peso cotiza a 19.1 por dólar. (The peso is quoted at 19.1 per dollar.) según — according to Según mi madre va a nevar. (According to my mother it is going to snow.) sin — without Voy sin él. (I am going without him.) sobre — over, about (in the sense of concerning) Se cayó sobre la silla. (He fell over the chair.) Es un programa sobre el presidente. (It's a program about the president.) tras — after, behind Caminaban uno tras otro. (They walked one after the other. They walked one behind the other.) Test your knowledge with this Spanish prepositions quiz. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Erichsen, Gerald. "Introduction to Spanish Prepositions." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/introduction-to-prepositions-3079329. Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). Introduction to Spanish Prepositions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-prepositions-3079329 Erichsen, Gerald. "Introduction to Spanish Prepositions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-prepositions-3079329 (accessed May 6, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: Learn Spanish: How to Say 'In Other Words'