More about Spanish Prepositions

We have already studied the rules of how to use prepositions in Spanish; we hope that this information has been useful to you. Now we will study Spanish verbs that use prepositions and some phrases or expressions that are formed using prepositions.

As we saw, prepositions can be used in various ways; they can express location, use, places, destination, etc. Today, we will see how to use them to accompany verbs

Prepositions with infinitives

In Spanish, the infinitive is the only verb form that may immediately follow a preposition. So, after a preposition the verb must be in the infinitive

For example:

  • Ella salió sin cerrar  la puerta.She went out without closing the door.
  • Vamos a nadar en la piscine.We are going to swim in the pool.
  • Ellos acaban de llegar.They have just arrived.


Verbs requiring “a” Before an Infinitive

Verbs expressing beginning, motion, teaching or learning, helping, and several others require the preposition a before an infinitive.


Comenzar a + infinitive – to begin to + infinitve

Empezar a + infinitive – to begin to + infinitve

Ponerse a + infinitive – to begin to + infinitve

For example:

  • El bebé se puso a llorar porque tenía hambre.The baby began to cry because he was hungry.
  • Empezamos a comer después de terminar la conversación.We started eating after finishing the conversation.


Ir a + infinitive – to go to + infinitive

Correr a + infinitive – to run to + infinitive

Venir a + infinitive – to come to + infinitive

Acercarse a + infinitive – to approach + infinitive

Apresusarse a + infinitive – to hurry to + infinitive

For example;

  • Él va a abrir la carta. – He is going to open the letter.
  • Nosotros vamos a viajar a Guatemala pronto.We will be traveling to Guatemala soon.
  • Corren a saludar a su papá.They run to greet their dad.
  • Viene a estudiar español a mi casa.She comes to study Spanish at my house.
  • Todos los estudiantes se acercaron a ver los nuevos anuncios.All the students approached to see the new ads.
  • Me apresuré a comer, pues ya era tarde.I hurried to eat, because it was late.

Teaching or Learning

Enseñar a + infinitive  – to teach to + infinitive

Aprender a + infinitive – to learn to + infinitive

For example:

  • Mi mama me enseña a conducir.My mother teaches me to drive.
  • Ellos aprendieron a bailar en Antigua.They learned to dance in Antigua.


Ayudar a + infinitive – to help (to) + infinitive

For example:

  • Yo te ayudo a cocinar.I help you cook.
  • Ella ayudó a poner las cosas en la refri.She helped put things in the fridge.

Other verbs

Acostumbrarse a + infinitive   – to become accustomed to

Asistir a + infinitive – to attend

Atreverse a + infinitive – to dare to

Convidar a + infinitive – to invite to

Decidirse a + infinitive – to decide to

Dedicarse a + infinitive – to devote oneself to

Inviter a + infinitive – to invite to

Llegar a + infinitive – to succeed in

Negarse a + infinitive  – to refuse to

Obligar a + infinitive – to force, to compel to

For example:

  • Ella se dedica a tocar el piano.She dedicates himself to playing the piano.
  • Te invité a cenar porque necesito hablar contigo.I invited you to dinner because I need to talk to you.
  • Ella llegó a ser doctora gracias a sus esfuerzos.She succeeded to be a doctor because of your efforts.
  • Se negaron a pagar la cuenta.They refused to pay the bill.

Verbs requiring “de” Before an Infinitive

The following verbs require the preposition debefore an infinitive:

Acabar de – to have just

Acordarse de – to remember to

Alegrarse de – to be glad

Cesar de – to stop

Dejar de – to fail, to stop

Encargarse de – to take change of

Olvidarse de – to forget to

Tartar de – to try to

For example:

  • Acabo de aprender el diferencia entre ser y estar.I just learned the difference between ser and estar.
  • La niña dejó de llorar.The girl stopped crying.
  • Me olvidé de comprar leche.I forgot to buy milk.
  • Trataré de ir a la fiesta.I will try to go the party.


Verbs requiring “en” Before an Infinitive

The following verbs require the preposition “en” before an infinitive, although in some verbs the preposition “en” is part of the verb, and then is used before a noun or an adjective

Consentir (e = ie) en – to consent to

Consistir en – to consist of

Convenir en – to agree to

Insistir en – to insist on

Meterse en – to become involved in

Quedar en – to agree to

Tardar en – to be long in, to delay in

For example:

  • Ella consiente en que su hija vaya a la fiesta.She consents that her daughter goes to the party.
  • Ella tarda en atenderme, porque hay mucha gente.She delays in assisting me, because there are many people.
  • Ella se metió en problemas grandes con lo que dijo.She became involved in big trouble with what she said.
  • Quedamos en comer juntas y no vino.We agreed to eat together and she did not come.

Verbs requiring NO preposition before an infinitive

Deber – ought to, must

Dejar – to let, to allow

Desear – to desire

Esperar – to hope, to expect

Hacer – to do, to make

Lograr – to succeed in

Oir – to hear

Pensar (e = ie) – to intend

Poder (o = ue) – to be able, can

Querer (e = ie) – to want

Saber – to know (how)

Soler (o = ue) – to be in the habit of

Ver – to see

For example:

  • Él debe hacer el trabajo.He ought to do the work.
  • No me dejó entrar.She did not let me enter.
  • Me hace reír.He makes me laugh.
  • Ella logró convencer  a su papá.She succeeded in convincing her dad.
  • No lo oímos salir.We didn’t hear him leave.
  • Quiero comprar un par de zapatos.I want to buy a pair of shoes.
  • ¿Sabes tú tocar el piano?Do you know how to play the piano?
  • Mi papa suele comer temprano.My dad is in the habit of eating early.
  • Vi jugar a mi equipo favorito.I saw my favorite team play.

Common expressions with prepositions

A caballo – on horseback

A casa – at home

A causa de – because of

A eso de – at about

A la derecha – to the right

A menudo – often

A pesar de – in spite of

A pie – on foot

A tiempo – on time

Al aire libre – in the open air

Al día siguiente – on the following day

Al fin – finally

Al lado de – besides / next to

Al + infinitive – upon

A fines de – at the end of

A mediados de – in the middle of

A principios de – at the beginning of, early in

A travéz de (por) – through, across

A la vez – at the same time

A su debido tiempo – in due course

Al poco tiempos – on after

Al menos – at least

De buena gana – willingly

De mala gana – unwillingly

De cuando en cuando – from time to time

De día – by day

De noche – by night

De esta manera – in this way

De este modo – in this way

De memoria – by heart

De moda – in style

De nuevo (otra vez) – again

De pronto – suddenly

De repente – suddenly

De hoy en adelante – from now on, henceforth

De otro modo – otherwise

De pie – standing

Desde luego (por supuesto) – of course

De memoria – by memory, by heart

¡De versa! (¡en serio!) – really, truly

De hecho – in effect

De una sola vez – in one time

De todas formas – anyway, however

En casa – at home

En cuanto – as soon as

En cuanto a – as for

Enfrente de – in front of

En lugar de – in place of

En medio de – in the middle of

En seguida – at once, immediately

En vano – in vain

En voz alta – aloud

En voz baja – quietly

En efecto – in fact, really, yes, indeed (as a response)

En general (por lo general) – generally

En otra parte / lugar – elsewhere

En alguna otra parte – somewhere else

En ninguna parte – not anywhere, nowhere

En caso de – in case of

En vez de – instead of

En cambio – in exchange for

Con el tiempo – in time, eventually

Sin duda – undoubtedly

(mas) Sin embargo – nevertheless, however

Hasta mañana – see you tomorrow

Hasta luego – see you soon

Hasta la vista – see you later

Hasta pronto – see you later

Hasta la tarde – see you in the afternoon.


photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin

photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin


3 comments on “More about Spanish Prepositions

  1. Pingback: Spanish Language Basics: Prepositions | LetsGoSpanish

  2. Pingback: En Brisas de Orbe | Tony Cantero Suarez

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