How to Use Spanish Verbs with Prepositions ‘Con,’ ‘En,’ and ‘Por’
Spanish verbs with prepositions rarely resemble English verbs with prepositions combinations. They often have surprising translations that you would never suspect.
To learn about this topic, a list of Spanish verbs with prepositions is not enough. I divided this post into logical sections that are easy to digest. You’ll also see many examples that will help you understand how Spanish phrasal verbs work.
Reading this article to become a pro at using Spanish verbs with prepositions. In the end, you can test your short-term memory by taking a multiple-choice quiz.
What are Prepositions?
Prepositions are tiny little words that show a relationship between the words or phrases around them. They help us talk about location, direction, and time.
Prepositions always introduce nouns or nominal groups. That’s why Spanish verbs after prepositions always come in the infinitive form that works as a noun.
According to RAE (la Real Academia Española – The Royal Spanish Academy), there are currently 21 simple prepositions in use in Spanish. Compare that with 150 prepositions in English, and you’ll surely sigh in relief.
If you want to read more about Spanish prepositions in general, check out the Ultimate Guide to Spanish Prepositions. And now, let’s focus on Spanish verbs with prepositions con (with), en (in), and por (for, by).
Spanish Verbs with Prepositions
Like English, Spanish has many verbs that require a specific preposition to link them to a noun. Translation doesn’t help here, and you simply need to memorize and practice verb and preposition combinations.
Certain verbs in Spanish do not require a preposition, although they do in English. For example:
- look at – mirar
- wait for – esperar
- pay for – pagar
Before you learn all the combinations of Spanish verbs with prepositions con, en, and por, let me explain one more thing.
Spanish distinguishes between a general usage of the prepositions with common verbs, for example, vivir en (live in), and phrasal verbs, when the verb completely changes its meaning if a specific preposition is added.
For instance, if you add the preposition oon to the verb contar (count), it means “to rely on” or “to count on somebody or something.”
Now, I’ll explain the general usage of verbs with prepositions con, en and por and include a list of phrasal verbs for each.
In most cases, con translates to “with.” You use it to show an instrument or tool used to perform an action or a link between people and things.
Me gusta escribir con pluma.
I like writing with a pen.
Quiero comer pan con tomatoes.
I want to eat bread with tomatoes.
Spanish Phrasal Verbs with Con
Here are some common phrasal verbs that use the preposition con.
Example Sentences in Spanish
Se casó con ella hace mucho tiempo.
He married her a long time ago.
Coincidí con él en la fiesta de cumpleaños de mi hermana.
I met him at my sister’s birthday party.
Comencemos con preguntas.
Let’s start with questions.
Di con la respuesta por pura suerte.
I came up with the answer by pure luck.
Me encontré con ella ayer.
I met her yesterday.
Mi perro se entusiasma con cualquier cosa.
My dog gets excited about anything.
Me tropecé con la piedra.
I tripped over the stone.
In Spanish, en usually translates into “in,” “on,” or “at.” You use it to show location and time or a type of transportation used.
Lo dejé en la cocina.
I left it in the kitchen.
Viví en Madrid en 2005.
I lived in Madrid in 2005.
Viaja en avión.
He travels by plane.
Spanish Phrasal Verbs with En
Let’s see some common phrasal verbs that use the preposition en.
|apoyarse en||to lean on, to rely on|
|confiar en||to trust in|
|consistir en||to consist of|
|convertirse en||to turn into, to become|
|creer en||to believe in|
|empeñarse en||to insist on|
|entrometerse en||to meddle in|
|fijarse en||to pay attention to|
|influir en||to influence|
|interesarse en||to get interested in|
|meterse en||to interfere with|
|pensar en||to think about|
|reparar en||to notice|
|vender en||to sell for (+ amount)|
|volver en||to return in (+ time)|
Example Sentences in Spanish
Te puedes apoyar en la almohada.
You can lean on the pillow.
Confia en mi.
La prueba consiste en correr lo más rápido que puedas.
The test is to run as fast as you can.
Se convirtió en mi héroe.
He became my hero.
No te entrometas en los asuntos de los demás.
Don’t meddle in other people’s business.
Se interesa en asuntos exteriors.
She is interested in foreign affairs.
Pienso en ti.
I’m thinking of you.
Nunca reparé en esto.
I never noticed this.
Vuelvo en cinco minutes.
I’ll be back in five minutes.
Por can be translated in many ways (such as for, because of, through, by, after, per, instead of, to, due to, and around), so instead of memorizing, try to understand how this preposition works in context.
You use por to talk about time, cause, and gratitude and in multiplication problems, among many other uses.
Viajaré por España por varias semanas.
I will be traveling in Spain for several weeks.
Trabajaré por ti.
I will work for you.
Brindo por nuestro future.
Here’s to our future.
Spanish Phrasal Verbs with Por
And finally, let’s have a look at some popular phrasal verbs that use the preposition por.
|asustarse por||to be frightened by|
|cambiar por||to exchange for|
|comenzar por||to start with|
|decidirse por||to decide on|
|disculparse por||to be concerned about|
|esforzarse por||to struggle for|
|jurar por||to swear by, on|
|luchar por||to fight for|
|molestarse por||to bother with|
|pagar por||to pay for|
|preocuparse por||to worry about|
|preguntar por||to ask about|
|rezar por||to pray for|
|tomar por||to take for|
|votar por||to vote for|
Example Sentences in Spanish
No te asustes por eso.
Don’t be scared of that.
Comienza por este párrafo.
Start with this paragraph.
No me puedo decidir por ninguno.
I can’t decide on any of them.
Esfuérzate por mejorar.
Try harder to get better.
Luchamos por nuestra libertad.
We fought for our freedom.
Se molestó por nada.
He got upset for nothing.
Pagamos por nuestro viaje con nuestro propio dinero.
We paid for our trip with our own money
No te preocupes por esto.
Don’t worry about this.
Vota por nuestro partido.
Vote for our party.
Bonus Prepositions – a, de
To wrap up this lesson on Spanish verbs with prepositions, let’s take a look at two more of the most common prepositions: a and de.
A can be translated as “to,” “at,” “by,” or “for.” And it can be used to:
1. Show Motion
Ayer fui al cine.
Yesterday I went to a cinema.
2. Connect Verbs with Infinitives
Vamos a cantar.
3. Show How Something is Done
Lo escribí a máquina.
I typed it.
4. Introduce a Person as a Direct Object
In this case, it’s known as the personal a.
¿Conoces a Juan?
Do you know Juan?
Phrasal Verbs with a
Dar a – to face, to overlook
Mi ventana da al parque.
My window overlooks the park.
Sonar a – to sound like
Suena a mentira.
It sounds like a lie.
Tocarle a – to be someone’s turn
Le toca a Pedro.
It’s Pedro’s turn.
De in Spanish translates to “of,” “from,” or “with.” Use it to:
1. Talk about Possession
El coche es de Miguel.
The car belongs to Miguel.
2. Show Cause
Estoy cansada de estudiar.
I’m tired of studying.
3. To Indicate Origin
Son de Guatemala.
They are from Guatemala.
Phrasal Verbs with de
Bajar de – to get off, to descend from
Bajé de peso cuando empecé a correr.
I lost weight when I started running.
Enamorarse de – to fall in love with
Me enamoré de esta ciudad.
I fell in love with this city.
Pensar de – to think of, to have an opinion about
¿Qué piensas de mi?
What do you think of me?
Spanish Verbs with Prepositions – Wrap Up
Before you check how much you’ve learned about Spanish verbs with prepositions, let’s do a quick summary.
- Prepositions indicate a relationship between words and phrases.
- There are 21 prepositions in Spanish.
- Prepositions link a verb with a noun, a nominal group, or an infinitive.
- The most common Spanish prepositions are: con, en, por, a, and de
- Spanish phrasal verbs with prepositions change their meaning.
Spanish Verbs with Prepositions Quiz
Choose the correct preposition for each sentence:
1. Me quedo _______ tu número.
2. La calidad influye _______ el precio.
3. Me esfuerzo _______ ser mejor.
4. No doy _______ mis lentes.
5. ¿Confías _______ mi?
6. ¿Me lo juras _______ tu vida?
7. Me disculpo _______ mi comportamiento.
8. Quiero casarme _______ ella.
9. Me llevo bien _______ todos.
10. Vendí la casa _______ cinco millones de pesos.
Practice Spanish Verbs with Prepositions
You’re getting there! The more effort you put into your Spanish studies, the closer you are to fluency! Congratulations.
What’s more, did you know that by studying another language, you not only become bilingual but also improve your cognition and decision-making abilities? Practice makes perfect when it comes to learning Spanish verbs with prepositions. The best way to improve your skills is to use the prepositions you learned in a conversation with someone who can correct your mistakes and challenge you to improve.
Sign up today for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy with one of our certified, native-speaking teachers from Guatemala and work on your Spanish verbs with prepositions.
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