Spanish verbs with prepositions: “de…”, “en…”, “por…”, “a…”, “con…”

spanish verbs with prepositions 1

Using verbs together with prepositions is very common in almost every language. In Spanish, we call them “verbos prepositivos”.

Using prepositions together with a verb may change completely the meaning of a sentence. For that reason, learning how to use verbs with prepositions is essential if you want to speak Spanish.

After all, they are frequently used by native speakers in almost any situation.

In this brief explanation, you’ll learn not only how to use verbs with prepositions but also what are the most common and what can you do to make the most out of them.

What are verbs with prepositions?

As we said, “los verbos prepositivos” are verbs that need to go together with a preposition in order to complete the meaning of the action or sentence.

For example, if you say “Ana regretted not going to the party”, in Spanish, it would be “Ana se arrepintió de no ir a la fiesta”. If we remove “…de no ir a la fiesta”, the sentence or the purpose of the action would lose its meaning.

Each verb with prepositions requires a specific preposition. You can even use the same verb with different prepositions to say something completely different.

Some verbs with prepositions are “olvidarse de”, “insistir en”, “acordarse de”, “soñar con”, and “confiar en”.

There are plenty of these verbs in Spanish and learning all of them in just a few minutes would be impossible. However, don’t be afraid as you’ll get familiar with the most used by Spanish speakers.

How to identify verbs with prepositions

Identifying verbs with prepositions isn’t difficult as the first thing you must keep in mind is that there will always be a verb and a preposition. Yet, there are a few other things we must know.

We can’t remove the preposition + the complements of the sentences as the whole sentence would lose its meaning.

Let’s take for example the sentence below:

Se apiadaron de mí.

They took pity on me.

We have the verb “apiadarse” plus the preposition “de”. If we remove “…de mí”, the whole sentence would have no sense as only “apiadarse” would be left.

In most cases, we can substitute what follows the prepositions with a tonic pronoun or a demonstrative pronoun. When using a demonstrative pronoun, we use the neuter “eso” or “esto”.

On the other hand, when we use a tonic pronoun to replace the complement of the sentence, we could use “mí”, “tí”, “él”, “ella”, “ello”, “usted”, “nosotros”, “nosotras”, “vosotros”, “vosotras”, “ustedes”, “ellos”, or “ellas”.

Don’t panic if you see a verb together with different prepositions. Some verbs like “renunciar” only admit one preposition. We would combine “renunciar” with the preposition “a” to build the verb with the preposition “renuncia a”.

Nonetheless, other verbs like “contar” admit more than one. We could say “contar en” or “contar con” and in both situations, the structure is completely correct.

Let’s have a look at the examples below to see how changing the preposition changes the meaning of the sentence:

Yo sé contar en alemán hasta el 10.

I know how to count in German up to 10.

Yo cuento con Marta para el turno de la noche.

I count on Marta for the night shift.

In the first sentence, the “contar en” means that you know the numbers from 1 to 10 in german.

On the flip side, in the second sentence, “contar con” means that you can trust or rely on someone to do something. “Contar con” is the Spanish equivalent of “count on”

Verb combinations

As we previously mentioned, there are many verbs with prepositions. Still, just a few of them are typically used in daily conversations.

We don’t mean that the not-so-frequent ones aren’t important. But, in order to move forward, you should start by mastering how to use the combinations listed below.

Verbs used with the preposition “de”

Some common verbs in this category are:

“Acordarse de”, “alegrarse de”, “alejarse de”, “asustarse de”, “cansarse de”, “cuidar de”, “depender de”, “despedirse de”, “disfrutar de”, “enamorarse de”, “hablar de”, “morirse de”, “olvidarse de”, “preocuparse de”, “saber de”, and “tratar de”.

Please note that many verbs are in their reflexive form and just others don’t. Also, some of them have a positive meaning while others have a negative meaning.

Below, are a few examples to give you a better picture of how to use them:

Disfrutar de la vidad es algo que todos deberíamos de hacer.

Enjoying life is something we should all do.

Alberto se enamoró de Carla.

Alberto fell in love with Carla.

Me despedí de mi mamá cuando salí de casa.

I said goodbye to my mom when I left home.

No puedo depender de tí.

I can’t depend on you.

Verbs used with the preposition “en”

In this category, there aren’t as many verbs as in the previous one. However, they are pretty useful. Some of these are “confiar en”, “creer en”, “convertir en”, “fijarse en”, “influir en”, “ingresar en”, “insistir en”, “pensar en”, “participar en”, and “tardar en”.

See below for some examples:

Piensa en lo que te ha dicho.

Think about what he has told you.

Quiero participar en la reunión de vecinos.

I want to participate in the neighborhood meeting.

Ellos insisten en que te quedes.

They insist that you stay.

Verbs used with the preposition “por”

Using “por” with the verbs with prepositions helps us express, in general, the purpose of the action.

In other scenarios, it helps us express that the motion is carried out through something. Some verbs with prepositions in this category are “decidirse por”, “mirar por”, “preguntar por”, “preocuparse por”.

Here are some examples:

Acaban de llamar preguntando por tí.

They just called asking for you.

Miré por la ventana y ví un paisaje hermoso.

I looked out the window and saw a beautiful landscape.

Verbs used with the preposition “a”

The preposition “a” is a must-have for every Spanish learner. We can use “a” to say what thing or person is going to receive the effect of the verb.

In other words, it connects the verb with the direct object of the sentence.

Some common verbs with prepositions are “acostumbrarse a”, “acudir a”, “aspirar a”, “atreverse a”, “conectarse a”, “comprometerse a”, “dedicarse a”, “dirigirse a”, “enfrentarse a”, “jugar a”, “preferir a”, and “renunciar a”.

Have look at the sentences listed below to get a clear picture of how to use them:

No me puedo conectar a la red Wi-Fi.

I can’t connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Mi papá se dedicó a trabajar toda su vida.

My dad dedicated all his life to work.

A pesar de que mis expectativas son altas, no aspiro a nada más.

Although my expectations are high, I do not aspire to anything more.

Verb with the preposition “con”

Some combinations in this category are “casarse con”, “comparar con”, “colaborar con”, “conectar con”, “confundir con”, “contar con”, “encontrarse con”, “entretenerse con”, “mezclarse con”, and “soñar con”.

You probably know some of them as they are very common and essential to express your personal opinion in many situations.

Here are some examples of using these combinations:

Siempre he soñado con ser el mejor beisbolista del mundo.

I have always dreamed of being the best baseball player in the world.

No compares una cosa con la otra. No es lo mismo.

Do not compare one thing with the other. Is not the same.

Rafael se casó con Valeria.

Rafael married Valeria.

You can practice this topic with some activities, click here!

Spanish verbs

In summary, verbs with prepositions are pretty useful in many situations because they enhance your communication and let you give orders, advice, and express your personal opinion.

Keep in mind that some verbs allow using many prepositions. Others just admit one combination.

Also, don’t forget that using the same verb with different prepositions will lead you to express different ideas.

Practice with verbs with prepositions as much as you can. They will definitely help you take your Spanish to a whole new level.

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