LAS PREPOSICIONES DE LUGAR is how we say prepositions of place in Spanish. They are a very special and useful type of prepositions in Spanish we use to indicate the location of one object in relation to another. Some of them are written and pronounced almost the same as in English, but their use in sentences is a little different and that is what this lesson is about. You will learn the rules to use Spanish prepositions of place through pictures, a nice video, several examples and an interesting interactive quiz.
Introductory video: A list of prepositions of place in Spanish *
Let’s start this lesson with a simple video showing several pictures of objects and animals and indicating their location using prepositions of place in Spanish. This video shows a picture for each Spanish preposition plus sentences describing the images in the video. Make sure to stick until the end of the video as it will help you understand the rest of the lesson more easily.
How to make sentences using prepositions of place in Spanish – Creando oraciones *
In order to make sentences with Spanish prepositions of place, we need to know a few important things about the way they work. First, these prepositions are used to relate one object to another in Spanish. They are called PREPOSICIONES DE LUGAR. We may use them for simple purposes like saying where classroom objects are located as in the sentence El escritorio está frente a la pizarra or as a way to give directions in Spanish as in the sentence El banco está junto al hospital. If you watched the video, then you are familiar with the words in bold. If not, here is a picture showing some common prepositions of place in Spanish. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
Let’s talk about questions using prepositions of place in Spanish. In order to ask about the position of an object in Spanish, we usually use the verb ESTAR (to be) in its forms ESTÁ and ESTÁN for several objects. You will also need the Spanish question word DÓNDE which means where. The questions usually follow the structure [¿Dónde + está/están + complement?] as in these two questions ¿Dónde está mi libro? (where is my book?) and ¿Dónde están las llaves? (where are my keys?). If you are looking for any place or object, then you could use HAY from the verb HABER which is used as there is/there are in Spanish as in the questions ¿Dónde hay un hotel? (where is a hotel?) and ¿Dónde hay una farmacia? (where is a pharmacy). If we want to know what is inside or next to something, then use HAY too but with the question word QUÉ (what) as in these two questions: ¿Qué hay en el jarrón? (what’s inside the pot?) and ¿Qué hay junto al carro? (what’s next to the car?)
To make sentences using prepositions of place in Spanish, it is also common to use the Spanish verbs ESTAR and HAY, just like in the questions. In the sentences as in the questions, you will notice that we use definite articles like EL, LA, LOS, LAS and indefinite articles like UN and UNA, especially before the name of the things we talk about in our sentence, for example: EL HOSPITAL (the hospital) and UNA CAJA (a box). Spanish definite articles are used with the verb ESTAR plus prepositions following this structure: [Article + object + estar (to be) + Spanish prepositions of place + article + object] as in the sentences: El hospital está junto a la farmacia and La rosa está sobre el libro. Most of these prepositions of place are actually a combination of prepositions, for example: ENCIMA + 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 EL HOTEL, so saying DE EL HOTEL as DEL HOTEL is the right grammatical form. The same happens when we have the preposition A + EL as we change it to AL, as in AL HOTEL. The last thing to mention is that Spanish indefinite articles are often used after the verb HAY, as in Hay una casa and Hay un banco. Saying something like Hay la casa is incorrect.
It’s time to put all those things together and see how these prepositions of place work in simple sentences. Know that some prepositions are interchangeable and could mean the same thing depending on the context. Press PLAY to listen to the examples.
|English example||Spanish examples using prepositions of place||Listen|
|There is some food in the basket||Hay algo de comida en la canasta|
|The cat is inside the house||El gato está dentro de la casa|
|The books are next to the computer||Los libros están junto a la computadora|
|The books are next to the television||Los libros están junto al televisor|
|The book is on the box||El libro está sobre/encima de la caja|
|There is a toy under the chair||Hay un juguete debajo de la silla|
|There is a letter outside the trash can||Hay una carta fuera de la papelera.|
|There is a restaurant in front of the hotel||Hay un restaurante frente al /enfrente del hotel|
|She is behind the tall guy||Ella está detrás del chico alto|
|There is a painting over the bookcase||Hay una pintura arriba del librero|
|The restaurant is between a hotel and a store||El restaurante está en medio de/ entre un hotel y una tienda.|
Spanish practice: a quiz about prepositions of place in Spanish *
It’s time to practice everything explained in the lesson about the use of prepositions of place in this Spanish. Here is a picture including several objects. Click on it to make it large and then solve the interactive quiz below related to its content.
A quiz about Spanish prepositions of place -> Una prueba sobre preposiciones de lugar