Talk About Your Location in Spanish: Vocabulary and Grammar Guide
Never get lost again with this complete guide to talking about your location in Spanish. Whether you’re trying to find an airport, hotel, or the next bus, studying this vocab and grammar guide will help ensure you’re always headed in the right direction!
What are Location Words?
Location words describe where something is in reference to something else. You can’t give a direction without first having a reference point.
Look at this example in English:
Evan is next to the dog.
In this example, the dog is the reference point. Notice how Evan’s location is described using the dog’s location. In order to understand where Evan is, you have to first know the location of the dog.
Talking about your location in Spanish is the same. You might want to say you are next to the building, inside the house, or behind the car. Whether you’re talking about your location in Spanish or English, understanding your reference point makes the rest easy!
What are Prepositions?
Prepositions, or preposiciónes, are words that affect nouns or pronouns. Prepositions describe the relationships of people, places, and things to the world.
It’s important to understand how to use prepositions when talking about location in Spanish because prepositions can be used to express a relationship to a location. These prepositions are also called prepositions of place, or las preposiciones de lugar.
How to Use De in Spanish
De is one of the most common prepositions in Spanish. It means “of” and “from,” as well as “with,” “by,” or “in”—and sometimes it’s not translated at all!
De forms two prepositional contractions with definite articles. When the preposition de is followed by the masculine article el, the two words combine to form del. Similarly, a and el combine to form al.
De is used to demonstrate the relationship between different words.
It’s important to understand what de means because it is often used in combination with other prepositions, including those that describe locations!
Prepositions of Place
Prepositions of place tell you where things are in relation to other places, things, or people. They are essential for describing your location in Spanish.
Some prepositions of place in Spanish are represented by two or three words:
- encima + de (encima de)
- en + medio + de (en medio de)
Be careful not to omit any part of the phrase, or it could change what you are saying!
Must-Know Prepositions of Place
- dentro de — inside of
- encima de/sobre — on top of
- debajo de — underneath of
- delante de — in front of
- detrás de — behind
- entre — between
- en — in/on/at
- dentro de — inside of
- fuera de — outside of
- arriba de — above
- en medio de — in the middle of
- cerca de — close to
- lejos de — far from
- al lado de — next to
- alrededor de — around
- a la izquierda de — to the left of
- a la derecha de — to the right of
In English, prepositions sometimes appear at the end of a sentence. However, in Spanish it is not possible to end a sentence with a preposition. Prepositions in Spanish are always followed by an object, such as a noun or pronoun.
Try to remember this format: preposition of place + article + object(s)
Cerca de la escuela
Close to the school
Entre los dos carros
Between the two cars
En la mesa
On the table
Verbs to Describe Your Location in Spanish
Great job getting those prepositions down! Now, take it one step further and add some location verbs to your vocabulary.
Estar is probably the most common verb you will use when talking about your location in Spanish. However, if you need to talk about where to put something or tell someone where they should place something, there are a few other verbs you’ll want to know.
- estar — to be
- colocar — to place
- ubicar — to position
- poner — to put
- situar — to place
Using Prepositions of Place in Sentences
Time to put everything together and create descriptive sentences talking about all kinds of locations.
Don’t forget to use articles! Definite articles el, la, los, and las are used instead of “the.” Similarly, use the indefinite articles un and una in place of “a” or “and.”
Try to remember this format: article + object(s) + estar + preposition(s) of place + article + object(s)
La regla está al lado del lápiz.
The ruler is next to the pencil.
El gato está en la casa.
The cat is in the house.
Los zapatos están dentro de la caja.
The shoes are inside of the box.
How to Say Here and There in Spanish
- aquí, acá — here
- ahí — there
- allí — there
- allá — over there
Notice how these words each get further away from the speaker as you go down the list. For example, aquí and acá are very close to the speaker. Ahí brings you a little further away but is still around the speaker. Allí is even further from the speaker. Allá is the same as allí but more indefinite.
Mi cuaderno está aquí.
My notebook is here.
Me encanta México. Quiero ir allí este verano.
I love Mexico. I want to go there this summer.
Habla sobre aquellos países allá en África.
Talk about those countries over in Africa.
Cardinal directions, or los puntos cardinales, are useful when describing your location in Spanish in reference to a landmark. Cardinal directions are often used with cities, coasts, and landscapes.
- el este — east
- el norte — north
- el oeste — west
- el sur — south
Vivo en el norte de España.
I live in the north of Spain.
Estoy en el sur de Perú.
I am in southern Peru.
Asking for Directions
If you find yourself in a Spanish-speaking country, you’ll probably need to ask for directions at least once or twice. Understanding how to ask about your location in Spanish is essential so that you’re always headed in the right direction!
In order to ask about locations Spanish, you need to use the verb estar. Try to remember this format: ¿Dónde + está/están + article + object(s)?
¿Dónde está el lápiz?
Where is the pencil?
¿Dónde están los perros?
Where are the dogs?
Putting It All Together
Congratulations, you’re all set to talk about your location in Spanish! Keep practicing your new prepositions of place with some more examples and you’ll be one step closer to mastering Spanish.
¿Dónde está el libro?
Where is the book?
El libro está dentro de la caja.
The book is inside the box
Coloca el violín debajo de la barbilla.
Place the violin under your chin.
Ella pone la ropa en la estantería.
She puts the clothes on the shelf.
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