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Verbs used with Prepositions in Spanish

Many Spanish verbs are used along with prepositions. Because it is not possible to guess which verb should be used with which preposition, you need to learn them at the same time when you learn a new verb. Especially, the prepositions “a”, “con”, “de” and “por” are very commonly used with verbs. Below, you may introductions to their meanings and examples of essential verbs used together with them.  

The preposition “a”

  • In earlier lessons, we already learned an important use of “a”: it is used when expressing at what time an activity takes place. For instance

Todos los días me despierto a las siete menos cuarto (Every day, I wake up at quarter to seven)

  • “a” is also used the way something is done. For example; “al forno” refers to food cooked in oven.
  • You can also here many expressions including “a”, some of them are given in the vocabulary section below.
  • Some verbs are usually used together with the preposition “a”. Especially, if the meaning of the verbs indicates the beginning of an event or an action. “Comenzar” is a good example. It means to begin. When it is used with “a”, it is followed by an infinitive. For example

comenzar a hacer algo to begin doing something

There are many other verbs which are used in this way

Some of the verbs followed by a + infinitive

Acercarse, acertar, acostumbrarse, alcanzar,   animar, aprender, atreverse, ayudar, bajar, comenzar, comprometerse, conducer, contribuir, convidar, decidirse,  dedicarse, desafiar, disponerse, empezar, enseñar, forzar, impulsar, inciter, inclinar, invitar, ir, limitarse, llegar,      llevar, mandar, meterse, negarse, obligar, pasar, persuadir, ponerse, prepararse, renunciar, resignarse, resistirse, tender, volver

Some verbs are also followed by “a” but not plus an infinite but plus an object. Typical example is conozcer (to know) :

Conozco a Carlos (I know Carlos)

Some of the verbs followed by a + object

Acercarse, acostumbrarse, aficionarse, asemejarse, asistir, asomarse, cuidar, dar, dedicarse, dirigirse, entrar, equivaler, estar sentado, ir, jugar, oler, paracerse, querer, responder, saber, sonar, tocar

The preposition “con”

Con can be translated as “with” or “and” most of the time. On the other hand, there are some uses where you simply have to memorize.   For example, it can mean in spite of

con tantas dificultades in spite of all difficulties

Some examples of the verbs which are used with con:

amenazar, comenzar, contar, contentarse, preocuparse, sonar

The preposition “de”

The use of “de” is very diverse. Recall one the first sentences you learned Spanish:  ¿De dónde eres? In this case, for example, “de” means from. Mostly one can translate it as “from” or “of”. It is used also when describing someone by telling the age, for example una mujer de 50 años (a 50 year old woman). “De” is used to indicate the possession as well; la camiseta de Rosa (Rosa’s T-shirt). There are some adjectives which are used with de, for example, when cansado is used with “de”, it means to be tired of something. It is also used to indicate quantities such as “una taza de leche” (a cup of milk).

Acabar, acordarse, acusar, alegrarse, arrepentirse, avergonzarse, cansarse, cesar, convencerse, cuidar, dejar, disuadir, encargarse, guardarse, hartarse, jactarse, lamentarse, olvidarse, parar, preocuparse, presumir, quejarse, terminar, tartar, tratarse           

The preposition “en”

We covered a possible use of en in lesson describing positions with estar. When used to describe the positions, it means “in” or “on”. This preposition has other uses as well. For example, to indicate a place, vivo en Madrid (I live in Madrid). It can also be used to express the time, for example en verano (in summer). Also when telling in a language, en ingles (in English).

confiar, consentir, consistir, convenir, dudar, empeñarse, insistir, interesarse, molestarse, pensar, persistir, quedar, tardar, vacilar

The preposition “por”

We covered the preposition por in detail along with para in lesson por and para. Here are the important verbs used with por

Afanarse, apurarse, comenzar, disculparse, esforzarse, luchar, optar                                    


Fixed expressions with “a”:

a pie on foot

a dieta on a diet

a tiempo on time

a mano by hand

Fixed expressions with “con”:

con intensidad  intensely

con felicidad  happily

con prisa  fast

Fixed expressions with "en":

en broma, as a joke;

en busca de, in search of;

en cambio, on the other hand;

en casa, at home;

en honor de, in honor of;

en la actualidad, presently;

en la radio, on (the) radio;

en la televisión (TV), on (the) television (TV);

en lugar de, instead of;

en secreto, in secret; en seguida,

 immediately; en serio, seriously;

en todas partes, everywhere;

en vez de, instead of; en vista de,

in view of; en vivo, live (as in live TV);

en voz alta, in a loud voice;

en voz baja, in a soft voice

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