Function words such as a, de, en, por, para, sin, or sobre

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18
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6answers
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“vaso de agua” or “vaso con agua”? Which is correct?

English What's the correct way to express that something "serves as a container for something else"? Example: ¿Quieres un vaso de/con agua? Should we use de or con? Are both correct? Why? If ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Difference between “por” and “para”

Even after taking 4 years of college Spanish and living abroad, I still don't have a very firm control of when to use por or para. What are the basic rules on when to use either.
13
votes
2answers
536 views

What is the history of the “personal a”?

What is the historical origin of the "personal a" in Spanish? Examples of the personal a: George sees Mary. -> Jorge ve a María. I see the waitress. -> Veo a la mesera. But with the exact ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “debe de” y “debe”?

Is there any difference? What's their usage? When should one be used instead of the other one? Examples: El niño debe de hacer su tarea. El niño debe hacer su tarea.
10
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2answers
199 views

Unclear why to use “A vuestros hijos” instead of “vuestros hijos”

I have the following sentence in English Do your children like to read? Which translates to Spanish: ¿ A vuestros hijos les gusta leer? To me it is unclear, why I have to use "A vuestros" ...
10
votes
5answers
26k views

Are there any differences between “de nada” and “por nada”?

Most of the time in all the Spanish speaking countries I've been in I've heard de nada as the reply to gracias or the equivalent of English you're welcome etc. But after a while I became conscious ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How to say instead (when at the end of a sentence)

I know how to say, Do Y instead of X using 'en vez de' or en 'lugar de' But how should I say something like Learn Spanish instead. Can I end a sentence with 'instead' or must I always ...
9
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5answers
551 views

Why do oler and saber take the preposition “a”?

As an English speaker learning Spanish, I was always a little confused that it smells and tastes "to" something rather than "of" something: Huele a humo. Sabe a ajo. I would think of "a" as ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Choosing between 'sobre' and 'acerca de'

Is there a significant difference between "sobre" and "acerca de", when the intent is to describe the topic of something? Where is "acerca de" a better choice than "sobre", and vice-versa?
8
votes
3answers
291 views

Two nouns in a row, or, is it OK to omit “de”?

Two or more nouns are sometimes used consecutively, with the second modifying the first. For instance, I recently received a mail whose subject was "Honorarios migración." This is, I suppose, ...
7
votes
3answers
129 views

'Se me van encoger' o 'se me van a encoger'

Me gustaría saber si alguien sabe cuál es la forma correcta de expresar algo que se encogerá: 'Se me van encoger' o 'Se me van a encoger'
7
votes
1answer
536 views

Usage of the compound preposition “para con”

Wikipedia mentions that para con is rarely used, but I hear it often enough to warrant this question. On the other hand, the Wikipedia article references the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas with ...
7
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1answer
8k views

When to add prepositions before an infinitive verb (por/para/a/de)?

With the infinitive form of a verb in English, (e.g. to speak), the word 'to' seems to convey a specific meaning where, in Spanish, an additional preposition is used in some cases. Examples: I ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Spanish phrasal verbs

Español La característica más difícil del idioma inglés (al menos en mi caso particular) son los "Phrasal verbs". Hoy me encontré una oración en un periódico que me hizo pensar sobre la existencia ...
6
votes
2answers
276 views

The translation of 'at' in Spanish

The Spanish translation of He appears at night. are given below. Is it correct both to say Él aparece en la noche. and/or Él aparece a la noche. en and a, what is the difference ...
6
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3answers
411 views

Por y Para for Recipients

I've heard por and para both being used to indicate recipients: Mi amor es por ti Este regalo es para ti In what situations regarding recipients are por and para usually used?
6
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3answers
727 views

What's the difference between “estar ansioso de” and “estar ansioso por”?

I know that both 'estar ansioso de' and 'estar ansioso por' mean to be excited for something or looking forward to it, but how do I decide which one to use? Do the two have slightly different meanings?...
6
votes
2answers
793 views

Más de lo normal / Más que lo normal

¿Debería usar "que" o "de" en los siguientes contextos? Estos días estoy más cansado de/que lo normal. Últimamente, he trabajado más de/que lo normal. Pienso que debería ser "que" porque es ...
5
votes
5answers
244 views

Should I eat my apple? Usage of the preposition “en”

English: I have seen the Spanish preposition "en" used in various ways in my studies. For example: Ella pone la ropa en la cama. She puts the clothes on the bed or Tengo gozo en mi ...
5
votes
2answers
136 views

Should I include “a” after “conocemos”?

Which would be correct? Nosotros conocemos a los padres de nuestros amigos. Nosotros conocemos los padres de nuestros amigos.
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between 'trabajar para' and 'trabajar por'

I know the difference between por and para, but I'm confused by these particular usages. I've seen both of them in various places. 'Trabajar para' seems to mean to work for, whereas 'trabajar por' ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Cerca vs. acerca vs. cercano

What is the exact difference between these words? If I were to translate, for instance, “I am near the bank”, which one of the following would be the best way to go and why: Estoy cerca del banco. ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

Why “fiestas de árboles” and not “árboles de fiestas”?

I encountered the expression "fiestas de árboles" in a song by a Chilean singer whose lyrics are: Tus ojos son fiestas de árboles, son mi ventana. Son estrellas que guían mi caravana. Google ...
5
votes
2answers
77 views

¿Es correcto usar dos “comos” y decir “tanto como X como como Y”?

Supongamos que queremos utilizar la expresión Tanto X como Y, por ejemplo: Me gustan tanto el chocolate como los garbanzos Es decir, que me refiero a ambas cosas por igual. Vale, esto me suena ...
5
votes
3answers
335 views

Preposiciones para dirección

Me encontré escribiendo esta frase: Ella comenzó a correr hacia la dirección en la que él había apuntado. Sin embargo, siento que las preposiciones son correctas de forma independiente, y no ...
5
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1answer
72 views

¿Qué pasó con el uso de la preposición “a” a principios del siglo XX?

Jugando con Ngram a ver si podía encontrar la palabra más usada del español (va ganando de con un 5,8% de apariciones), me encuentro con la siguiente gráfica cuando busqué la preposición a: Así que ...
5
votes
2answers
119 views

What is the difference between “abajo,” “debajo,” and “bajo?”

I see some conflicting information out there on the web regarding this topic, especially with regard to which of these can and cannot pair with "de." I wrote a post on it, but when I consulted with ...
4
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2answers
257 views

Why is “a” used in this sentence instead of “de”?

I recently came across a question in one of my self-study workbooks asking me to translate this sentence: The smell of enchiladas circulates through the house. I put: El olor de las ...
4
votes
1answer
465 views

Cannot use adverbs + possessives: “delante de ti” v/s “delante tuyo”

In Spanish there are some adverbs followed by de: Delante de, atrás de, en frente de, etc... When these adverbs are followed in a sentence by a declined pronoun, they are often "contracted" ...
4
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2answers
88 views

Asking 'in exchange for what' vs. asking 'why'

One of the many meanings of por is in exchange for. Ex.: Compré una bufanda por diez dólares. I bought a scarf in exchange for ten dollars. In a Spanish question, por qué means why. ¿Por qué ...
4
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2answers
71 views

El uso de “contra” y “al” con “clamar”/The use of “contra” and “al” with “clamar”

Español Perdón for mis errors. Esto a principiante. Leí el sitio web "elpair.com," cuándo vi este titular "El exilio armenio clama contra Obama al recordar el genocidio". Pienso que él significa "...
4
votes
3answers
114 views

What are the more complex meanings of “de”?

So, I already know basic forms of this word (of, from, etc.), but I keep seeing it used in places that I don't understand. For example, I sometimes see "antes de que", or just "de que". Why does "de" ...
4
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3answers
8k views

A la mañana / De la mañana / En la mañana / Por la mañana

Objective Clarification on the differences among A la mañana / De la mañana / En la mañana / Por la mañana. This is more of a memo of what I learned but also I appreciate for suggestions and ...
3
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2answers
601 views

¿Se dice “me alegro que” o “me alegro de que”?

Con frecuencia me surge la duda de cuál de estas frases es correcta: Me alegro de que las cosas te estén yendo bien Me alegro que las cosas te estén yendo bien Es decir, ¿cuándo se puede ...
3
votes
4answers
797 views

«Por la mañana» frente a «en la mañana»

Mientras voy calificando algunos escritos de mis alumnos, he notado que a pesar de lo que les digo en clase, escriben cosas como «Me ducho en la mañana» o «salgo en la noche», frases en las cuales ...
3
votes
4answers
150 views

Why does Spanish use the preposition “a” for culinary styles?

I've looked in the Real Academia Española dictionary and I can't find any information regarding why Spanish uses the preposition a for cooking styles, and I've noticed French and Italian do it too. I ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Why is “por” prefered to “para” in the example within?

From Shakira's Suerte: Yo puedo escalar los Andes solo Por ir a contar tus lunares Why is por preferable to para in this case. If one translation of para is roughly "for the purpose of", ...
3
votes
1answer
430 views

Which of these expressions is correct? “Debe ser” vs “Debe de ser” [duplicate]

I have always had this doubt. Which of these expressions is properly used and when to use each of them? Debe haber sido un accidente Debe de haber sido un accidente (is this a mistake?)
3
votes
2answers
315 views

¿“Darse de alta a xxxx” o “Darse de alta en xxxxx”?

Cual es la forma correcta para decir las frases "darse de alta en Facebook", o "darse de alta al grupo de discusión". ¿Hay alguna regla de uso?
3
votes
1answer
92 views

¿Por qué decimos una canción es “de” un artista y en cambio un libro es “por” un autor?

En Inglés, decimos una canción es "by" un artista y un libro es "by" un autor. No entiendo la razón de la diferencia en Español. ¿Hay una regla para esto o es algo que sólo tengo que memorizar? ¿...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

What's the position of the tongue when speaking 'l' at the end of a word?

I want to know where I should put my tongue at last when speak words like 'fidel', 'mundial','al'' international'. the position of tip of my tongue should be on the upper teeth, or gum ridge or ...
3
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2answers
83 views

¿“Extenderse por” o “extenderse hasta”?

Me he cruzado con esta duda mientras escribía hoy y no he podido solucionarla. Algo es capaz de extenderse hasta una semana Algo es capaz de extenderse por una semana Consultando con ...
3
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1answer
74 views

When to translate “at” to “a” instead of “en”

I've noticed that sometimes at can be translated to "a" instead of "en," and I think that I have a pretty good idea of when to use which, but, even after doing some diligent Googling, I can't seem to ...
3
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4answers
403 views

When to use 'a' and when to use 'para'?

Es correcto decir 'Voy a Chicago' y 'Voy para Chicago' (I'm going to Chicago)? If so , how and when 'a' and 'para' are different?
3
votes
1answer
8k views

“pensando en ti” vs. “pensando de ti” vs. “pensándote”

When using the verb pensar to describe thinking about a person, there are at least three options: Estoy pensando en ti. Estoy pensando de ti. Estoy pensándote. What are the differences between ...
3
votes
2answers
343 views

“a” personal en “Yo les presento a mi novio a mis padres”?

Estaba viendo la pregunta sobre el "a" personal y empecé a estudiar un poco el asunto. Me quedé con la duda, que pasa con la "a" personal en caso de que se agregue a un objeto indirecto. Pensé en ...
2
votes
4answers
996 views

“Por” vs. “para” in time expressions (duration)

Consider this sentence: My cousin lent me his camera for two days. Which of the following constructs would be more natural and why: 1. Mi primo me prestó su cámara por dos días. 2. Mi ...
2
votes
4answers
352 views

nuevos zapatos por/para España?

I am learning Spanish and want to post a picture of my new running shoes that I will be using in the Madrid marathon. Which is correct? nuevos zapatos por España or nuevos zapatos para ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Differing connotations of prepositions meaning “at” (en, de, a, etc…)

Say you have the question "Why are you at my house?" I'm not sure which preposition is appropriate here, as many of them translate to "at". "¿Por qué estás tú en/a/de/... mi casa?" (On an unrelated ...
2
votes
2answers
410 views

How to translate “about”?

I have come across two translations: acerca de and sobre. Which one is the most accurate translation for a construct such as “This book is about a cat” or “They are talking about you”? If they both ...