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1.  PREPOSITIONS   

A preposition describes a relationship between other words in a sentence. In itself, a word like "in" or "after" is rather meaningless and hard to define in mere words. For instance, when you do try to define a preposition like "in" or "between" or "on," you invariably use your hands to show how something is situated in relationship to something else.

1.1  FOR LOCATION  

Prepositions (about, at, before, by,...) perform the function of linking up parts of a sentence in a way that reflects how the parts relate to each other in terms of place.

delante de
in front of

detrás de
behind

dentro de
inside of

fuera de
outside of

encima de
on top of

debajo de
under

al principio de 
at the beginning of

al final de
at the end of

lejos de
far from

cerca de
close to

a la izquierda de
on the left of

a la derecha de
on the right of

enfrente de
opposite to

entre
between

al lado de
next to

alrededor de
around

1.2  OF TIME

a
at

a las... (hours)
Comemos a las tres.
We eat at three o'clock.
 
a + mediodía/medianoche
midday/midnight
Siempre salimos a medianoche.
We always go out at midnight.
  al + infinitive Al amanecer salimos de casa.
We go out of the house at dawn.
  frequency Nadamos tres veces a la semana.
We go swimming three times a week.
  age A los dos años ya podía hablar.
At the age of two he could already talk.
  a future time in the past
A la semana próxima se fueron.
The following week they left.
al cabo de
after
after/ at the end of
Van a volver al cabo de tres semanas.
They are going to return after three weeks.
antes de
before

+ infinitive Leo un libro antes de dormir.
I read a book before going to sleep.
 
+ article + noun
Antes de la comida bebo una cerveza.
Before eating I drink a beer.
con
with

age Con seis años ya jugaba al fútbol.
At the age of six I was already playing football.
de
from

+ parts of the day
A las cinco de la mañana.
At five in the morning.
 
with/without light Prefiero estudiar de día/noche.
I prefer to study in the day/at night.
 
origin
Es una tradición de la Edad Media.
It's a tradition from the Middle Ages.
 
de... a ... (from... to...)
Estudiamos inglés de cinco a siete.
We study English from five to seven.
dentro de
within

a future time in the past
Nos vamos dentro de una semana.
We will leave within a week.
desde
from

desde... hasta... (+ article)
(from... until...) 
Desayunan desde las ocho hasta las nueve.
They have breakfast from eight until nine.
 
desde hace + quantity of time. (Measures the time distance between the beginning of the event and the moment of speech which has not yet come to an end.)
Espero desde hace dos horas.
I have been waiting for two hours.
después de
after

+ infinitive Después de levantarme, bebo un café.
After getting up, I drink a coffee.
 
+ article + noun
Después de las vacaciones vamos a Roma.
After the holidays we are going to Rome.
durante
during

+ article + noun
Durante las Navidades estamos en España.
Over/During Christmas time we are in Spain.
en
in

expressions of time which are greater than a day En otoño vamos a visitar Berlín.
In autumn we are going to visit Berlin.
 
dates Compré mi casa en el año 1996.
I bought my house in 1996.
 
time that is needed
Con el coche llego en diez minutos.
I arrive with the car in ten minutes.
entre
between

between two times Hemos quedado entre las ocho y las nueve.
We have stayed between eight and nine.
hace
ago

hace + quantity of time (Measures the time distance between the beginning of the event and the moment of speech.)
Hace cinco años estuve en Barcelona.
Five years ago I was in Barcelona.
 
hace + quantity of time + que (can only appear before a verb) Hace un año que le conocí.
I met him one year ago.
hacia
around

approximate time
Vamos a llegar esta tarde hacia las ocho.
We are going to arrive this afternoon at around eight.
hasta
until

limited time
Me quedo hasta las once.
I am staying until eleven.
para
for

precise time
El concierto es para el jueves próximo.
The concert is next Thursday.
por
for

parts of the day Por la mañana no nos gusta desayunar.
We don't like to have breakfast in the mornings.
  imprecise time
Por el mes de mayo salen las flores.
In the month of May the flowers come out.
  frequency Nos vemos dos veces por semana.
We see each other twice a week.
 
duration Me voy de vacaciones por tres meses.
I am going on holiday for three months.
sobre
about

approximate time Suele venir sobre las dos y media.
I usually come over at about half past two.
tras
after

+ infinitive (después de - after) La encontró tras salir de casa.
He met her after leaving the house.

1.3  THE MOST COMMON SPANISH PREPOSITIONS

de
from
en, sobre
on, over
a, hacia
to, towards
Vengo del (de+el) cine.
I am coming from the cinema.
Vivo en Burgos.
I live in Burgos.
Voy a casa.
I am going home.
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