Prepositions & Prepositional Phrases in Spanish

Instructor: Ashley Zehel

Ashley has a M.A. in Spanish as well as a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. She has taught K-12 and now teaches college level.

Ever need help explaining where something is, what something is for, or other specifics? Prepositions help us provide these details by telling how two or more things are related.


Preposition is a long, intimidating sounding term for a word that helps tell the relationship between two or more things. You use them all the time without even thinking about it! They can answer when, where, or provide more description. Spanish prepositions work pretty similarly to English ones. Here are some common ones with examples.

Prepositions of Location: Describing 'Where'

These prepositions help identify the location of something or someone. Note that when telling the location, the verb estar - to be - is commonly used:

  • a - to

El gato va a la mesa. The cat is going to the table.

  • al lado de - next to; beside

El gato está al lado de la mesa. The cat is next to the table.

  • a la derecha de - to the right of

El gato está a la derecha de la mesa. The cat is to the right of the table.

  • a la izquierda de - to the left of

El gato está a la izquierda de la mesa. The cat is to the left of the table.

  • allá - over there

El gato está allá. The cat is over there.

  • allí - there

El gato está allí. The cat is (right) there.

  • cerca de - near

El gato está cerca de la mesa. The cat is near the table.

  • de - from; of

El gato viene de la mesa. The cat is coming from the table.

  • debajo de - below

El gato está debajo de la mesa. The cat is below the table.

  • delante de; enfrente de - in front of

El gato está delante de la mesa. The cat is in front of the table.

  • detrás de - behind

El gato está detrás de la mesa. The cat is behind the table.

  • en - in; on; at

El gato está en la mesa. The cat is on/at the table.

  • encima de - on top of

El gato está encima de la mesa. The cat is on top of the table.

  • entre - between

El gato está entre la mesa y la silla. The cat is between the table and the chair.

  • hacia; para - toward

El gato va hacia/para la mesa. The cat is going toward the table.

  • lejos de - far from

El gato está lejos de la mesa. The cat is far from the table.

  • por - by; through

El gato pasa por la mesa. The cat passes by the table.

  • sobre - on; over; about

El gato está sobre la mesa. The cat is on the table. La lección es sobre un gato. The lesson is about a cat.

Prepositions of Time: Telling 'When'~

These prepositions specify when something occurred.

  • antes de - before

El gato come antes de dormir. The cat eats before sleeping.

  • cuando - when

El gato come cuando duerme. The cat eats when it sleeps.

  • desde - since

El gato come desde la siesta. The cat eats since naptime.

  • después de - after

El gato come después de dormir. The cat eats after sleeping.

  • durante - during

El gato come durante la siesta. The cat eats during naptime.

  • hasta - until

El gato come hasta la siesta. The cat eats until naptime.

  • mientras - while

El gato come mientras duerme. The cat eats while it sleeps.

sleepy cat

Prepositions That Add Description

The following prepositions help give more information.

  • como - like; as

El gato come como sus amigos. The cat eats like his friends.

  • con - with

El gato come con sus amigos. The cat eats with his friends.

  • sin - without

El gato come sin sus amigos. The cat eats without his friends.

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases include a preposition with the rest of the information needed to tell when, where, or more information about the relationship.

If we look at some of the example sentences, we can easily identify the prepositional phrase. First, find the preposition. The object of the preposition - the who or what - typically follows right after.

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