Spanish prepositions: “a…”, “en…”, “de…”

spanish prepositions featured 1

Today you will learn about some of the most common Spanish prepositions: a, en, and de.

These are just part of a big list of prepositions that we will teach you gradually.

Prepositions never suffer grammar changes or accidents. They have neither gender (feminine or masculine) nor number (singular or plural).

The use of prepositions is mandatory in the construction of correct and coherent sentences.

Let’s keep reading!

verbo ser español 2 (1)

Spanish prepositions “a”, “en”, and “de”

The use of prepositions is mandatory in the construction of correct and coherent sentences.

Their purpose is to introduce a term, either a nominal group or a sentence, with the ones that form an ordered set of words, meaning they join the different elements that make up a clause.

Keep reading to see examples and explanations about these prepositions:

Preposition “a”

  • Direction someone or something is heading.

Voy a San José a visitar a unos amigos.

I am going to San José to visit some friends.

Él va a ir al supermercado a comprar unos vegetales.

He is going to the supermarket to buy some vegetables.

  • Order or request.

¡A bañarse!

Take a bath!

¡Todos a la cama!

Everybody to bed!

¡A hacer la tarea!

Do your homework!

  • Place or time when something happens.

Lo contactaron a la entrada de su casa.

He was contacted at the entrance to his house.

Trajeron la perra a la finca.

They brought the dog to the farm.

  • The location of someone or something.

Se encontraba a la izquierda de su padre.

He stood to the left of his father.

A su derecha estaba el jefe.

To his right was the boss.

A oriente se debe ir bien abrigado.

To the east, you should be warmly dressed.

  • It indicates the end of an interval of place or time between two things.

Solo servían el almuerzo de doce a una.

They only served lunch from twelve to one.

Acostumbraban a hablar de acera a acera.

They used to talk from sidewalk to sidewalk.

Se les veía pasar de calle a calle.

They were seen passing from street to street.

  • Mode of action.

Le gusta montar a caballo.

He liked to ride horses.

El pantalón lo tejió a mano.

He wove the pants by hand.

Todo lo arreglaba a golpes.

He fixed everything with blows.

  • Designation of the price of things.

Todo lo que lleve es a 5 000 pesos.

Everything he carries is at 5 000 pesos.

Compré los lápices a 1 000 pesos cada uno.

I bought the pencils at 1 000 pesos each.

  • Distribution or proportional account.

Iban llegando de a dos.

They were arriving in pairs.

Fui a un almacén y me compré de esos productos que son a tres por 10 000.

I went to a grocery store and bought one of those products that are three for 10 000.

preposicion a spanish (1)

Preposition “de”

  • Possession or ownership:

Esta es la granja de mis padres.

This is my parents’ farm.

La mascota de Julio es un gato.

Julio’s pet is a cat.

Ese maletín es de Ana.

That briefcase belongs to Ana.

  • To create various adverbial locutions of manner.

Le tocó comer de pie. 

He had to eat standing up.

Se viste de marca. 

He wears a brand name.

Lo conozco de vista.

I know him by sight.

  • Where someone or something is from, comes from, or comes out of.

Ese vino es de Argentina. 

That wine is from Argentina.

Vengo de Nicaragua y creo que me regreso.

I come from Nicaragua and I think I’m going back.

  • Materials of things.

El espejo es de vidrio. 

The mirror is made of glass.

Me compré una blusa de seda. 

I bought a silk blouse.

La pelota roja es de plástico.

The red ball is made of plastic.

  • Content in something.

Necesito una caja de huevos para hacer la torta.

I need a box of eggs to make the cake.

 Me comí un delicioso plato de paella. 

I ate a delicious plate of paella.

Ve a la tienda y me compras una bolsa de leche.

Go to the store and buy me a bag of milk.

  • Subject or matter.

Cuando entré, estaban hablando de la fiesta. 

When I walked in, they were talking about the party.

Me leí un libro que trata de la Revolución Francesa. 

I read a book about the French Revolution.

Este es mi cuaderno de Español.

This is my Spanish notebook.

  • Cause or origin of something.

Se enfermó de paperas.

He got sick with the mumps.

Murió por causa de una explosión. 

He died because of an explosion.

Esas lágrimas son de felicidad.

Those tears are of happiness.

  • Nature, condition, or quality of someone or something.

Es un hombre de buenos valores.

He is a man of good values.

Susana es una persona de confiar.

Susana is a trustworthy person.

preposicion de español (1)

Other uses

This is a very commonly used preposition in Spanish. That’s why we want to show you everything you can say with the preposition “de”.

Note: Denotes the point from which something comes.

Viajó de Argentina a Estados Unidos. 

He traveled from Argentina to the United States.

Me dijeron que el almacén solo está abierto de nueve en adelante. 

I was told that the store is only open from nine o’clock onwards.

Siempre se le veía caminar de un lado a otro.

He was always seen walking back and forth.

Grammar note: Preceded by a noun, adjective, or adverb, and followed by an infinitive.

Estoy cerca de encontrar la solución. 

I’m close to finding the solution.

Me siento lejos de pensar en el qué dirán.

I feel far from thinking about what people will say.

Grammar note: Followed by an infinitive with a conditional value.

De haberlo visto antes, te lo habría comprado. 

If I had seen it before, I would have bought it from you.

De saber las cosas con anterioridad, no habría cometido el error. 

If I had known things before, I wouldn’t have made the mistake.

De conocerlo bien, te lo recomendaría.

If I knew it well, I would recommend it to you.

Grammar note: Followed by a verb to add a second verb to the sentence.

Todo le sale mal, desde que dejó de estudiar. 

Everything goes wrong for him since he stopped studying.

Le reclamó, cuando apenas acababa de llegar. 

He complained to her when she had just arrived.

De tener suerte, hasta se gana la lotería.

If he is lucky, he even wins the lottery.

Note: With certain nouns to determine the time in which something happens.

El accidente ocurrió de madrugada. 

The accident happened in the early morning.

La cafetería está cerrada de noche. 

The cafeteria is closed at night.

Yo tuve muchos juguetes de niña.

I had a lot of toys as a child.

Native tip: To reinforce a qualifier.

Lo dijo la mandona de mi tía. 

My bossy aunt said so.

Mucha gente abusa de lo bueno que es Daniel. 

Many people abuse how nice Daniel is.

El malo del mesero me sirvió el plato que no era.

The mean waiter served me the wrong dish.

Grammar note: With partitive value.

Préstame un poco de atención. 

Lend me a little attention.

Tenme un poco más de paciencia. 

Have a little more patience with me.

Muestra aunque sea un poco más de respeto.

Show even a little more respect.

Conversation note: Quick execution of something.

De un salto se la comió. 

In one leap he ate her.

Terminemos de una vez por todas. 

Let’s finish once and for all.

De un mordisco se la metió toda en su boca.

In one bite he stuffed it all in his mouth.

Expression note: Pity, complaint, or threat.

¡Pobre de mi perro, ayer estuvo muy enfermo!

Poor my dog, he was very sick yesterday!

¡Ay de las personas que no cumplan la norma!

Woe to the people who do not comply with the rule!

Grammar note: Prepositional locutions from adverbs, nouns, etc.

Hay que organizarlo antes de que él regrese. 

We have to organize it before he comes back.

Nosotros tenemos muy buena relación, a diferencia de ustedes. 

We have a very good relationship, unlike you.

Yo me quiero quedar alrededor de ella.

I want to stay around her.

Note: Combined with other prepositions.

Vayan pasando de a dos y después de a tres. 

Go by twos and then threes.

Corrió tras de mí, hasta que me alcanzó. 

She ran after me until she caught up with me.

De por sí, las cosas salieron bien.

By itself, things went well.

Grammar note: To introduce the term of the comparison.

Había bebido más de lo debido. 

I had drunk more than I should have.

Todo salió mejor de lo que pensaba. 

Everything went better than I thought it would.

Ahora realiza más de 20 conciertos por año.

He now performs more than 20 concerts a year.

preposicion de spanish (1)

Preposition “en”

  • Denotes in what place, time, or manner the thing expressed by the verb referred to takes place.

Mateo está con su familia en Costa Rica. 

Mateo is with his family in Costa Rica.

El evento se celebró en el mes de diciembre. 

The event was held in the month of December.

Tengo una ropa en remojo, para luego lavarla.

I have some clothes to soak, to wash them later.

  • It denotes in which someone excels.

Juan siempre se ha destacado por su desempeño en ingeniería ambiental. 

Juan has always excelled in environmental engineering.

Pedro disfruta mucho trabajar en medicina. 

Pedro enjoys working in medicine.

Sara tiene mucho conocimiento en nuevas tecnologías.

Kate is very knowledgeable in new technologies.

  • Denotes a traffic situation.

En estos momentos va en el carro a entregarte el dinero. 

Right now he is in the car to deliver the money to you.

Ese caso se va a explicar en el proyecto. 

That case will be explained in the project.

La encomienda ya va en camino.

The order is on its way.

  • Denotes the term for some verbs of motion.

A él le gusta andar en bicicleta. 

He likes to ride a bicycle.

Se cayó caminado en la calle. 

He fell down walking in the street.

Martha habla mucho en clase.

Martha talks a lot in class.

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More Spanish prepositions

The use of these prepositions is really basic and important. With some practice, you will easily use and understand them.

Other prepositions that are very common and useful in Spanish are “con, (with), “desde (since / from), and “para (to / for).

Keep learning and practicing.

You can do it!

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