Prepositions of place in Spanish, LAS PREPOSICIONES DE LUGAR, are a very useful type of words we use to indicate the location of one object in relation to another. In this lesson, you will learn a basic list of prepositions of place in Spanish and how to use them with the irregular verb ESTAR (to be in Spanish) to make meaningful sentences.
Vocabulary: A list of prepositions of place in Spanish
Spanish prepositions of place, “las preposiciones de lugar”, have many possible uses including simple things like saying where classroom objects are located as in”El escritorio está frente a la pizarra” (the desk is in front of the board) or as a way to give directions in Spanish as in the sentence “El banco está junto al hospital” (The bank is next to th hospital). The words “FRENTE A” and “JUNTO A” are both Spanish prepositions. The picture below shows a list of common prepositions of place in Spanish and their meaning.
How to make sentences using ESTAR + prepositions of place in Spanish
First, let’s learn how to ask about location in Spanish. We need to use the verb ESTAR in its form ESTÁ for a single object as in “¿Dónde está el carro?” and ESTÁN for several as in “¿Dónde están los carros?” Make sure to use the right definite article in Spanish before the noun. Basically, the questions to ask for location in Spanish will follow the structure:
¿Dónde + está/están + article + object(s)?
|Asking for location in Spanish with ESTAR|
¿Dónde está el libro? – El libro está dentro de la caja.
Where is the book? – The book is inside the box
¿Dónde están los libros? – Los libros están dentro de la caja
Where are the books? – The books are inside the box
ESTAR is also used to make sentences using prepositions of place in Spanish. You will notice that we use EL, LA, LOS, LAS and the indefinite articles UN and UNA before the name of the things, for example: EL HOSPITAL (the hospital) and UNA CAJA (a box). For most sentences we will use the structure:
Article + object + estar (to be) + Spanish prepositions of place + article + object
Most Spanish prepositions of place are represented by two words or more, for example: ENCIMA + DE (encima de), EN + MEDIO + DE (en medio de) and so on. If we omit a part of the phrase it would not make sense. Something to point out is that the word DE will change to DEL if the place it precedes is as masculine noun like HOTEL, which means we should say “del hotel” not “de el hotel”. The same rule applies when we have the preposition A + EL, but in this case we replace them for AL as in AL HOTEL. Know that some prepositions are interchangeable and could mean the same thing depending on the context. Press PLAY to listen to the examples.
|Sentences with ESTAR + prepositions of place in Spanish|
EN- Los libros están en la canasta
The books are in the basket
DENTRO DE – El gato está dentro de la casa
The cat is inside the house
JUNTO A – Los libros están junto a la computadora
The books are next to the computer
SOBRE/ENCIMA DE – El libro está sobre/encima de la caja
The book is on the box
DEBAJO DE – El juguete está debajo de la silla
The toy is under the chair
AFUERA DE/FUERA DE – Las cartas están fuera de la papelera.
The letters are outside the trash can
FRENTE A/ EN FRENTE DE – El restaurante está frente al /enfrente del hotel
There is a restaurant in front of the hotel
DETRÁS DE – Ella está detrás del chico alto
She is behind the tall guy
ARRIBA DE – La pintura está arriba del librero
The painting is over the bookcase
Vocabulary quiz: Prepositions of place in Spanish
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This vocabulary quiz will test if you understand the basic rules to use ESTAR plust prepositions of place in Spanish. You will also find a few more interesting notes about them in the quiz. Let’s start!
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- Question 1 of 4
Which of these prepositions of place in Spanish mean IN or INSIDE?CorrectIncorrect
- Question 2 of 4
Which of these questions is the right one to ask about location in Spanish?Correct
Remember we use the question word DÓNDE to ask about location in Spanish.Incorrect
- Question 3 of 4
Complete these sentences with the right preposition of place in Spanish
- Ella está (junto a, al lado de) Marcos. (next to)
- Tú estás (frente a, en frente de) la computadora. (in front of)
- Ellos están (debajo de) la mesa. (under)
- Question 4 of 4
Complete these sentences with the right preposition of place in Spanish.
- El libro está (detrás del) televisor. (behind)
- Los pinguinos están (encima del, sobre el) trozo de hielo (on)
- El hospital está (en medio del, entre el) supermercado y el hotel. (between)