12.1 Prepositions - an introduction

 I Prepositions indicate the relationship between objects
 II a as a local prepositions
 III a indicating the indirect object
 IV a used for giving the time
 V Some verbs use the a for appending an infinitive
 VI a in certain phrases

  I. Prepositions indicate the relationship between objects

The lamp is above the table.
The lamp is
on the table..

As you can see the preposition shows the relationship between the table and the lamp. There are many, many prepositions (in English by the way around 160), but we want to present only the most common and the most problematic ones. Problematic are some of the prepositions because you can't translate them 1:1; so there are many meanings for only one prepositions.

  II. a as a local preposition (= to, at)

One of the most common prepositions in Spanish language is a. It can be used in a wide variety of situations. For instance as a local prepositions it means to, at.

Voy a Italia. = I go to Italy
Vamos al cine. = We go to the movies.
La playa está a 500 m del hotel. = The beach is at 500 m from the hotel.

  III. a indicating the indirect object (to)

As we have seen already the preposition a is also used to indicate an indirect object (meaning to)or a direct object if it's a person or a object (to which we have a close relationship).

Doy el libro a Juan. (Juan is indirect object, dativo ) = I give the book to Juan.
Veo a Juan. (Juan is direct object, accusativo) = I see Juan.

  IV. a used giving the time (at)

Vengo a las tres. = I come at three

  V. Some verbs use a for appending an infinitive (to)

Example: (ir, aprender etc.)

Vamos a comer. = We go to eat.
Aprendo a jugar ajedrez. = I learn to play check.

  VI. a in certain phrases (at, to, by)

Mirad a la izquierda.
= Look at the left side.
Mira a la derecha.
= Look at the right side.
Si nos damos prisa vamos a llegar a tiempo.
= If we hurry we are going to be on time.
Es mentira lo que dice, fue al revés.
= It's a lie what he says, it was the other way around.
Desayunamos al aire libre.
= We have breakfast outside.
Esta alfombra está hecha a mano.
= This carpet was made by hand.
A través de este libro comprendí la vida.
= Through this book I understood life.
A pesar del hecho que es pobre es una persona amable y generosa.
= Beside the fact that he is poor, he is a friendly and generous person.

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