The 36 Most Common Spanish Prepositions You Should Know

Often, we’re taught that a preposition describes the place of a noun.

Prepositions also describe the relationship between a noun/pronoun and other words in a sentence.

Even if you’re a master of English prepositions, Spanish prepositions are another ballgame—the languages can be pretty different, after all.

Here, we’ll cover both simple and compound prepositions in Spanish.

Read on for 36 of the most common Spanish prepositions, complete with English definitions, example sentences and practice tips.


Simple Spanish Prepositions

1. a

Meaning: To

Voy a la casa de mi amiga.
(I am going to my friend’s house.)

A can also connect a conjugated ir to an infinitive.

Ellos van a nadar. 
(They are going to swim.)

2. ante

Meaning: (in formal speech) Before, in the face of

The English prefix “ante-” (as in the word “antecedent”) is very similar to Spanish.

El acusado fue presentado ante un juez.
(The defendant appeared before a judge.)

3. bajo

Meaning: Under, underneath

El perro está bajo la mesa.
(The dog is under the table.)

Meaning: Under the rule of a political figure

Bajo Kim Jong-un, Corea del Norte ha tenido muchos problemas. 
(Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea has had many problems.)

4. cabe

Meaning: Close to, next to

The preposition cabe is not really used in modern Spanish, so you’ll likely only find it in literary works.

La casa estaba cabe el bosque.
(The house was next to the forest.)

5. con

Meaning: With

Voy a la fiesta con mis amigos. 
(I am going to the party with my friends.)

Meaning: In spite of

Con todo lo que ha pasado en mi vida, me mantengo optimista.
(In spite of all that has happened in my life, I remain an optimist.)

6. contra

Meaning: Against (opposed to)

No tengo nada contra él. 
(I don’t have anything against him.)

Meaning: Against (physical location)

La mesa está contra la pared.
(The table is against the wall.)

7. de

Meaning: From (indicating origin)

Mi abuela es de Canadá
(My grandmother is from Canada.)

Meaning: From (indicating cause)

Ella estaba gritando de tristeza
(She was screaming from sadness.)

Meaning: Of (indicating composition)

El plato está hecho de plástico.
(The plate is made of plastic.)

Meaning: Of (indicating ownership)

Este libro es de mi hermana.
(This book is my sister‘s.)

Meaning: About 

Él puede hablar de muchos temas.
(He can talk about many topics.)

8. desde

Meaning: Since

No la he visto desde ayer
(I haven’t seen her since yesterday.)

Meaning: From

Llamaré a mi madre desde tu casa
(I will call my mother from your house.)

9. durante

Meaning: During

Recuerde, no hable durante la película.
(Remember, no talking during the movie.)

10. en

Meaning: In (physical location)

Las cerezas están en la nevera.
(The cherries are in the fridge.)

Meaning: In (indicating manner)

Mi padre habla en voz alta.
(My dad speaks in a loud voice.)

Meaning: Into

El chico cayó en la piscina.
(The boy fell into the pool.)

Meaning: By (indicating means)

Voy a la biblioteca en coche.
(I go to the library by car.)

11. entre

Meaning: Between

La puerta está entre las ventanas.
(The door is between the windows.)

Meaning: Among

Yo encontré a mi hermana entre la multitud. 
(I found my sister among the crowd.)

12. hacia

Meaning: Towards

Ellos corrieron hacia la salida del edificio.
(They ran towards the building’s exit.)

Meaning: About, around (approximate time)

Voy a llegar hacia las dos de la tarde.
(I am going to arrive around two in the afternoon.)

13. hasta

Meaning: Until

Ellos se van a quedar con nosotros hasta mañana. 
(They are going to stay with us until tomorrow.)

Meaning: Up to

Este ascensor tiene capacidad para hasta 10 personas
(This elevator has capacity for up to 10 people.)

Meaning: Down to

La temperatura bajó hasta los 10 grados.
(The temperature went down to 10 degrees.)

14. mediante

Meaning: Through, by means of

Realizaremos la reunión mediante una videollamada.
(We will hold the meeting through a video call.)

15. para

Meaning: For

Le compré un regalo muy bonito para Navidad.
(I bought him a very nice gift for Christmas.)

Meaning: To, in order to

Para ir a mi casa, tienes que manejar un coche. 
(In order to go to my house, you have to drive a car.)

16. por

Meaning: For

Estaré en la casa de mis abuelos por el día de Acción de Gracias.
(I’ll be at my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving Day.)

Meaning: By

Para ir al gimnasio, tienes que pasar por la farmacia.
(To go to the gym, you have to pass by the pharmacy.)

Meaning: Because of

No fui a trabajar por la gripe.
(I didn’t go to work because of the flu.)

Meaning: Through

Ellos pasaron por el pasillo.
(They passed through the hallway.)

Meaning: Per

Son quince dólares por libra. 
(They’re 15 dollars per pound.)

17. según 

Meaning: Depending on

Según el tiempo, podemos ir a la playa. 
(Depending on the weather, we can go to the beach.)

Meaning: According to

Según su madre, la tienda cierra a las siete. 
(According to her mother, the store closes at 7:00.)

18. sin

Meaning: Without

Ahora, Elena puede hacer su tarea sin la ayuda de sus padres. 
(Now, Elena can do her homework without her parents’ help.)

19. so

Meaning: Under

Like cabe, you’ll likely only see so in literary contexts, or in expressions like so pretexto de (under the pretext/guise of) and so pena de (under the threat of).

So pretexto de trabajar hasta tarde, planeó una fiesta sorpresa para su novio.
(Under the pretext of working late, she planned a surprise party for her boyfriend.)

20. sobre 

Meaning: On

Por favor, no pongas tu ropa sucia sobre la mesa.
(Please don’t put your dirty clothes on the table.)

Meaning: About

Busco un libro sobre animales salvajes.
(I’m looking for a book about wild animals.)

Meaning: Over

El avión voló sobre el océano. 
(The plane flew over the ocean.)

21. tras

Meaning: After

Mes tras mes, ella se siente cada vez más tranquila. 
(Month after month, she feels increasingly calmer.)

22. versus

Meaning: Versus, against

Este juego es el equipo de mi hermana versus el equipo de mi mejor amiga… ¡No sé a quién apoyar!
(This game is my sister’s team versus my best friend’s team… I don’t know who to root for!)

23. vía

Meaning: Through, by way of

Viajé a Costa Rica vía los Estados Unidos.
(I traveled to Costa Rica by way of the United States.)

Meaning: By, via

La jefa le enviará el horario vía correo electrónico.
(The boss will send you the schedule by email.)

Compound Spanish Prepositions

Compound prepositions are groups of more than one word that, together, have the function of a preposition. In Spanish, they’re called locuciones preposicionales (prepositional phrases).

24. a pesar de

Meaning: Despite

Mi hermano quiere hacer paracaidismo a pesar de su miedo a las alturas.
(My brother wants to go skydiving despite his fear of heights.)

25. al lado de

Meaning: Beside, next to

Me gusta mucho el restaurante que está al lado de la playa.
(I really like the restaurant that’s next to the beach.)

26. además de

Meaning: Besides, in addition to

Además de tocar el piano, ¿qué te gusta hacer?
(Besides playing piano, what do you like to do?)

27. alrededor de

Meaning: Around (physical location)

Hay flores alrededor de la iglesia.
(There are flowers around the church.)

Meaning: Around (giving an approximation)

En la escuela, hay alrededor de 1500 estudiantes. 
(In the school, there are around 1500 students.)

28. cerca de

Meaning: Close to, near

El hotel está cerca de muchos restaurantes y tiendas.
(The hotel is close to many restaurants and shops.)

29. debajo de

Meaning: Under, underneath

El gato estaba sentando debajo de la silla.
(The cat was sitting underneath the chair.)

30. delante de

Meaning: In front of

Solo mantente por delante de los otros corredores y estarás bien.
(Just stay in front of the other runners and you’ll be fine.)

31. dentro de

Meaning: Within

La compañía se pondrá en contacto con nosotros dentro de una semana.
(The company will get back to us within a week.)

Meaning: Inside

Hay muchos autobuses dentro de los límites de la ciudad.
(There are many buses inside the city limits.)

32. detrás de

Meaning: Behind

Ella caminó detrás de su tía. 
(She walked behind her aunt.)

33. encima de

Meaning: On top of

Tu sombrero está encima de la cama. 
(Your hat is on top of the bed.)

34. frente a

Meaning: In front of

Hay un McDonald’s frente a mi escuela.
(There is a McDonald’s in front of my school.)

35. fuera de

Meaning: Outside of

El perro esperó fuera del hospital. 
(The dog waited outside of the hospital.)

36. junto a

Meaning: Next to, by

¿Está su casa junto a la parada de autobús?
(Is their house next to the bus stop?)

Meaning: Alongside

Durante la formación, trabajará junto a profesionales cualificados.
(During the training, you will work alongside qualified professionals.)

Where to Practice Spanish Prepositions Online

So you’re now starting your endeavor to memorize every single Spanish preposition! Okay, maybe not all of them, but you do want them to start coming to you more easily.

Here are some great ways to practice Spanish prepositions:

  • A quick and easy quiz to begin your preposition practice can be found at Each question features a drop-down list of prepositions for you to choose from.
  • The FluentU program offers a variety of authentic Spanish videos with interactive subtitles, so you can immerse yourself in the language and learn prepositions straight from native speakers. You can watch these words being used in context and create flashcards to study them.
  • features 24 exercises to test your knowledge of prepositions. It includes activities like using prepositions of time and the difference between por and para.
  • offers a fill-in-the-blank quiz. You can use the word box to help you put the correct preposition in each blank, or try to do it straight from memory. Keep trying until you get them all right!


One thing is for sure—if you invest time into learning prepositions and how they’re used, you’ll soon be a pro at prepositions.

This list is only the beginning.

Keep going!

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