Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Premium 3rd Edition (2016)

Part II. PREPOSITIONS

Chapter 15. Prepositions and prepositional phrases

preposition is the part of speech that shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word in a phrase, clause, or sentence.

Prepositions are often referred to as “those little words.” But they are little words that mean a lot, because prepositions reveal place, time, direction, manner, and connection, among other things. Compound prepositions are made up of multiple “little words” that express one prepositional meaning.

Because prepositions are quite specific in meaning, it is important to study them in depth. As a rule, you cannot substitute one preposition for another, so it is important to know precisely which preposition to use in a given situation.

For the most part, prepositions are used to show the relationships between nouns and pronouns.

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Each of the prepositions used in the examples above shows the relationship between the subject of the sentence (“I,” “Roberto,” “you,” “cat”) and the object of the preposition (“Carlota,” “house,” “hospital,” “bookshelf”). The preposition and its object together form a prepositional phrase.

To change a preposition is to change the meaning of the sentence entirely, as is shown in the sentences that follow.

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The nouns and pronouns in the examples above are linked by the preposition itself, but they are also linked by a verb, often the verb “to be.” (In Spanish, depending on the context, the linking verb is either ser or estar.) In these examples, you find “I am,” “Roberto is,” “you are,” “the cat is.”

Functions of prepositional phrases

Prepositional phrases can perform many different functions in a sentence. At times, a prepositional phrase modifies a noun and has an adjectival function, often identifying which one? Other times, a prepositional phrase modifies a verb and has an adverbial function, such as answering the question where? Although the prepositional phrase itself may not change, its use in the sentence does. Note the differences in the examples that follow.

Prepositional phrase used as an adjective (“which one?”)

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Prepositional phrase used as an adverb (“where?”)

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Prepositions that show a relationship between nouns and/or pronouns

The principal function of a preposition is to demonstrate the relationship between two or more people or things. This relationship can be abstract, as in “He sings songs about love,” or it can be physical and concrete, as in “The book is on the table.”

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Below are several frequently used prepositions, which are used in the exercises that follow.

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¿Cuál es verdadero o falso para ti?

________   1. Yo sé mucho acerca de Hollywood.

________   2. Me gusta el té con limón y azúcar.

________   3. En la Serie Mundial, la Liga Nacional juega contra la Liga Americana.

________   4. Según mi mejor amigo/amiga, un día sin café es un día sin valor.

________   5. Yo como todo tipo de comida, excepto chocolate.

________   6. Aristóteles escribió ensayos sobre filosofía.

________   7. Yo estudio matemáticas además de español.

________   8. Según la Biblia, Adán y Eva fueron las primeras personas del mundo.

________   9. Siempre dejo mis zapatos contra la pared.

________ 10. Tengo un libro sobre la historia de Francia.

________ 11. Me gusta oír noticias acerca de mis amigos.

________ 12. Además de ropa, Bloomingdale’s vende muebles, coches y refrigeradores.

________ 13. Yo soy una persona sin problemas.

________ 14. Nadie, menos los niños pequeños, cree que existe Santa Claus.

________ 15. En este momento estoy con mi mejor amigo/amiga.

________ 16. Tomo té en vez de café.


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Traducción Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1He always talks about his girlfriend.

_______________________________________________________

  2I prefer coffee with milk and sugar.

_______________________________________________________

  3He prefers tea without sugar.

_______________________________________________________

  4. Don Quijote is the best novel in the world, according to José.

_______________________________________________________

  5In addition to flowers, her boyfriend gives her candy (los dulces) on every date (la cita).

_______________________________________________________

  6The director’s back (la espalda) is against the wall.

_______________________________________________________

  7This book is about George Washington.

_______________________________________________________

  8They don’t write much about their problems.

_______________________________________________________

  9Do you want pizza with meat (la carne) or without meat?

_______________________________________________________

10I like everything here except the shoes.

_______________________________________________________

11His thesis (la tesis) is about the art of Rome.

_______________________________________________________

12According to Julia, her friends know nothing about classical music.

_______________________________________________________

13I want everything against the wall, except the podium (el podio).

_______________________________________________________

14You have to serve the drinks (la bebida) in addition to the food.

_______________________________________________________

15The library doesn’t have anything about the history of the pizza.

_______________________________________________________


Prepositions of location

A very common function of the preposition is to tell where someone or something is located physically in relation to someone or something else, for example, “The bike is in front of the house” and “Mario is to the left of Susana.”

Several of the prepositions of location are made up of more than one word. These are called compound prepositions. They must be followed by a noun or a pronoun just as one-word prepositions are.

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Note that because these prepositions show location, the verb estar is frequently used.

There is one exception to using estar to show location: When telling where an event takes place, use ser.

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Understanding the Spanish en

It is important to understand the Spanish preposition en, which expresses the English meanings “in,” “on,” “into,” and “at.” Prepositions in Spanish can have very literal meanings. For example, to express in English that you have a job with the Sears department store, you would probably say, “I work at Sears.” The reality, however, is that when you are working, you are physically in the Sears store, and so to express the same idea in Spanish, you would say, Trabajo en Sears. See the sentences below for more examples of how Spanish en can be expressed in English.

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Below are several frequently used prepositions of location.

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¿Cuál es verdadero o falso para ti?

________   1. Hay un árbol delante de mi casa.

________   2. En mi sala, hay una lámpara a la izquierda del sofá.

________   3. Mi coche está dentro del garaje ahora.

________   4. Hay una luz sobre la mesa en el comedor.

________   5. Hay mucho polvo (dust) debajo de mi cama.

________   6. Alguien está a la derecha de mí ahora.

________   7. Hay un farol (streetlight) fuera de mi ventana.

________   8. Vivo cerca de una biblioteca pública.

________   9. El garaje está detrás de mi casa.

________ 10. Mi mejor amigo/amiga vive enfrente de un restaurante.

________ 11. Canadá está lejos de Europa.

________ 12. El estado de Kansas está entre los estados Colorado y Missouri.

________ 13. Usualmente, se juega un partido de béisbol en un estadio.

________ 14. Al lado de mi casa hay un jardín.

________ 15. Los pájaros encima de mi casa mejoran la belleza del barrio.

________ 16. En la corte, los abogados están frente al juez (judge).


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Traducción Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1There is a book on top of the table.

_______________________________________________________

  2John is to the right of me, and Felipe is to the left of Elena.

_______________________________________________________

  3Do you live next door to our restaurant?

_______________________________________________________

  4Every spring we plant (sembrar) flowers in front of the house.

_______________________________________________________

  5We need more light (la iluminación) above the paintings (el cuadro).

_______________________________________________________

  6People (la gente) across the country watch (mirar) the Olympics (los juegos olímpicos) on television.

_______________________________________________________

  7My favorite song is “Close to You.”

_______________________________________________________

  8Many people want to live far from the airport (el aeropuerto).

_______________________________________________________

  9Do you know that there is a tiger (el tigre) under your bed?

_______________________________________________________

10Why are there so many (tanto) dogs outside your house?

_______________________________________________________

11Who is in the kitchen with Dinah?

_______________________________________________________

12What do you have inside your mouth?

_______________________________________________________

13He works at the bank.

_______________________________________________________

14They are in the bank.

_______________________________________________________

15There isn’t anything on television tonight.

_______________________________________________________

16There is nothing between us.

_______________________________________________________

17Who is behind you?

_______________________________________________________

18One watches movies in the theater.

_______________________________________________________


Prepositions of movement

In addition to telling which one? and where?, prepositions can indicate movement—where someone or something is going. In the sentences that follow, the same prepositional phrase (a lo largo de, meaning “along”) has an adjectival function in the first sentence and an adverbial function in the second, where it indicates movement in addition to location.

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Below are several frequently used prepositions that indicate movement.

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Underline the correct preposition in parentheses to complete each of the following sentences.

  1. Es muy romántico caminar (a lo largo de | detrás de) la playa.

  2. No puedo ver (hacia adelante | más allá de) las estrellas.

  3. Para hacer ejercicio todos los días, Jorge corre diez veces (hacia atrás | alrededor de) la pista (track).

  4. El coche pasa (por | debajo de) el túnel.

  5. Para ir a Canadá, necesitas conducir (por | hacia) el norte.

  6. No quiero andar en bicicleta (a lo largo de | hacia adelante) la autopista. Es demasiado peligroso.

  7. Si tú vas (hacia | alrededor de) el este, en dos o tres cuadras (blocks) vas a ver la tienda que buscas.

  8. El ladrón (robber) buscó (alrededor de | por) la casa hasta encontrar el oro.

  9. Los niños no deben ir (más allá de | de lado de) este punto.

10. En el juego “Sillas musicales,” caminamos (más allá de | alrededor de) las sillas.


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Traducción Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1I run around the lake every morning.

_______________________________________________________

  2Do you walk along the boulevard (el bulevar)?

_______________________________________________________

  3The detective searches throughout the house.

_______________________________________________________

  4He’s always looking toward his goals (la meta).

_______________________________________________________

  5Superman can fly (volar) through the air.

_______________________________________________________

  6Every evening they walk through the mall (el centro comercial).

_______________________________________________________

  7If you look beyond that tree, you can see the roller coaster (la montaña rusa).

_______________________________________________________

  8Do you want to walk around the block (la cuadra) with me?

_______________________________________________________

  9You can’t go beyond the end (el final) of this block.

_______________________________________________________

10We can drive (conducir) toward the river and then walk along the path (la senda).

_______________________________________________________

11Johnny Weir can skate (patinar) forward and backward.

_______________________________________________________

12Superman can fly, but he doesn’t fly backwards.

_______________________________________________________


Prepositions of geographical orientation

To give geographical directions or to describe location in geographical terms requires a prepositional phrase in Spanish. Note that in English, we often say “north of” instead of “to the north of.” When using the Spanish expressions, however, be sure to keep the complete phrase in mind. Below are several frequently used prepositions that indicate geographical orientation.

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Look at the map of the central United States below. With Missouri as your point of reference, answer the following questions with a complete sentence, using prepositions of geographical location. (The first item has been done for you.)

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  1. ¿Dónde está Iowa? Iowa está al norte de Missouri.

  2. ¿Dónde está Arkansas? _________________________________________

  3. ¿Dónde está Kansas? _________________________________________

  4. ¿Dónde está Illinois? _________________________________________

  5. ¿Dónde está Michigan? _________________________________________

  6. ¿Dónde está Nebraska? _________________________________________

  7. ¿Dónde está Oklahoma? _________________________________________

  8. ¿Dónde está Tennessee? _________________________________________

  9. ¿Dónde está Louisiana? _________________________________________

10. ¿Dónde está Minnesota? _________________________________________


Prepositions of origin and destination

Prepositions are used to express origin and destination. In actuality, these prepositions are variations of prepositions that show movement. Think of these prepositions as revealing motion in time. Mentally, to reach the origin of something, you move toward the past; to reach a destination, you move toward the future. Below are several frequently used prepositions that indicate origin and destination.

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Traducción Unless otherwise indicated, use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1Because of this cold (el resfriado), I can’t go to the movies with my friends.

_______________________________________________________

  2I’m reading a book by John Steinbeck.

_______________________________________________________

  3This book is for you [pl., formal].

_______________________________________________________

  4Greetings (all the way) from Cancún!

_______________________________________________________

  5We’re going to the mall (el centro comercial). Do you want to go with us?

_______________________________________________________

  6These pearls (la perla) are from Japan.

_______________________________________________________

  7All my friends from college (la universidad) are here.

_______________________________________________________

  8What do they want from me?

_______________________________________________________

  9I don’t have anything for you.

_______________________________________________________

10He calls me all the way from Germany (Alemania) every week.

_______________________________________________________

11Because of her attitude (la actitud) and bitterness (la amargura), she has no friends.

_______________________________________________________

12The novel Les Miserables is by Victor Hugo.

_______________________________________________________

13We are marching (marchar) to Pretoria.

_______________________________________________________

14One of them is going to win (ganar) the grand prize (el premio gordo)!

_______________________________________________________

15I’m tired, and for this reason (razón) I’m going to take a nap (dormir una siesta).

_______________________________________________________


Prepositions of time

Prepositions can be used to indicate a relationship in time, often answering the question when? Below are several frequently used prepositions that indicate time.

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Underline the correct preposition in parentheses to complete each of the following sentences.

  1. Comemos el postre (dessert) (antes de | después de) la comida.

  2. Hay muchos anuncios (commercials) (durante | por) el programa de televisión.

  3. En los Estados Unidos, la temporada (season) de béisbol es de abril (desde | hasta) octubre.

  4. (Antes de | Por) un partido de béisbol, cantamos el himno nacional.

  5. Juan ha vivido (has lived) en California (por | desde) 1981.

  6. Muchas personas trabajan de lunes (a | durante) viernes.

  7. Tenemos que lavar los platos (antes de | después de) la cena.

  8. No es cortés hablar (antes de | durante) la película.

  9. Es importante limpiar la casa (durante | antes de) la fiesta.

10. Muchos consultorios (offices) de dentista tocan música (hasta | durante) el día.

11. El senador está en una reunión, pero va a regresar a la oficina (antes de | después de) estar allí.

12. Típicamente, dormimos (por | hasta) la noche.


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Traducción Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.

  1You don’t have to be here until tomorrow.

_______________________________________________________

  2I need to clean the garage before winter.

_______________________________________________________

  3It’s cold, isn’t it (¿no?)? Yes. Since Tuesday.

_______________________________________________________

  4Some people believe that ghosts (el fantasma) live after death (la muerte).

_______________________________________________________

  5After dinner, we always wash the dishes.

_______________________________________________________

  6What do you want to do during our break (el descanso)?

_______________________________________________________

  7What do you usually do in the afternoon?

_______________________________________________________

  8What do you want to do before the dance (el baile)?

_______________________________________________________

  9We usually talk during the commercials (el anuncio).

_______________________________________________________

10He’s going to work here until March.

_______________________________________________________

11Don’t you have milk? No. Not since Saturday.

_______________________________________________________

12They work from Monday to Friday.

_______________________________________________________

13We can watch the movie and go to the restaurant after seeing it.

_______________________________________________________

14I always chop (picar) the onions before cooking them.

_______________________________________________________


Prepositions and related adverbs

With many of the compound prepositions that end in de (encima decerca delejos de, etc.), especially when the object of the preposition is understood, you drop the de in the Spanish sentence when the understood object is omitted. These are most often prepositions indicating location. However, the lack of an object for the preposition converts that preposition into an adverb within the sentence. Both the PREPOSITION + OBJECT and the ADVERB answer the question where?

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Other prepositions indicating location or movement are very closely related to adverbs. The following chart shows six prepositions with related adverbs. The prepositions must be followed by a noun or pronoun as object of the preposition. The adverbs must be placed at the end of a clause or sentence and cannot be followed by a noun.

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