Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

384. Many of the more common of the Spanish prepositions and prepositional phrases have been learned in previous lessons. For the sake of convenience they are repeated here. The simple prepositions have so many special meanings that some must be studied in detail.

385. The more common of the simple prepositions, with their general and ordinary meanings, are the following:

a, to, at, from, of, in,
into, on.
excepto, except, but.
ante, before, in the
presence of.
hacia, towards.
bajo, under, below. hasta, as far as, to, until,
up to.
con, with. para, by, for, to, in order to.
contra, against. por, for, by, to, through,
on account of.
de, of, from, by, about, concerning, on, at,
with, on account of, to.
según, according to, as.
desde, from, since. sin, without.
durante, during. sobre, on, upon, about.
en, in, on, into, upon,
at, of.
tras, after.
entre, among, between.

386. The more common prepositional phrases are the following:

a. Phrases composed of an adjective or adverb with the preposition a:

conforme a, according to. junto a, near, by, close to.
contrario a, contrary to. respeto a, } in regard to,
with respect to.
frente a, opposite to, facing. tocante a,

b. Phrases composed of an adverb with the preposition de:

acerca de, about, regarding. dentro de, within, inside of.
además de, besides. después de, after (in time).
alrededor de, around. detrás de, after, behind
(in place).
antes de, before (in time). encima de, over, on, above.
cerca de, near. enfrente de, in front of.
debajo de, under. fuera de, outside of, except.
delante de, before, in front
of (in place).
más allá de, beyond.

c. Phrases composed of two prepositions with an intervening word:

a causa de, on account of. a pesar de, in spite of.
a fin de, in order to. en cuanto a, as to, with respect to.
a fuerza de, by dint of. en lugar de, } instead of,
in place of.
al lado de, by the side of. en vez de,

387. The Preposition a. The principal uses of the preposition a, ' to, at, from, of, in, into, on,' are:

a. To express time.
a las diez, at ten o'clock.
a mediodía, at noon.
a tiempo, in time.
a fines de mayo, by or towards the end of May.
¿A cuántos estamos hoy? What day of the month is it
Salieron a la madrugada. They left very early (at dawn).

b. To express position, destination, direction.

Está a la puerta. He is at the door.
Voy a la escuela. I am going to school.

c. To express manner or means.

Viene a pie. He comes on foot.
Lo echaron fuera a patadas. They kicked him out.

d. To express price or rate.

Se venden a diez centavos
cada uno.
They are sold at ten cents
¿A cómo se venden? What price are they?
al cinco por ciento, at five per cent.

e. With verbs meaning ' to take from,' ' buy from,' etc.

Quítale el libro a Juan. Take the book away from John.
Le compré el libro a mi tío. I bought the book from my uncle.

f. For the preposition a used as the sign of the object, see 44.

g. For the preposition a used for the English ' on ' before the present participle, see 125 b.

Motion is expressed by a. (For rest expressed by en, see below; see also (b), above.)

Voy a casa. I am going home.
¿A dónde va? Where are you going?
Voy a España el año que viene. I am going to Spain next year.

i. For the preposition a used as the sign of the infinitive, see 406.

388. The Preposition en. The principal uses of the preposition en, ' in, on, into, upon, at, of,' are the following:

a. To express rest in or on a place or motion in or into a place.

Estamos en París. We are in Paris.
El libro está en la biblioteca. The book is in the library.
Póngalo en la caja. Put it in the box.
La comida está en la mesa. The dinner is on the table.
Entra ahora en la iglesia. He is now going into the church.
b. To express time and manner.
de hoy en ocho días, a week from to-day.
en el día de hoy, to-day.
No me meto en tonterías. I do not care for foolishness.