Pero no por ello debemos vivir a voluntad de otros, y es una cadena que todos deberíamos empezar a romper.

When using this expression, I'm not sure if "voluntad" should be in the singular or in the plural, as well as if a definite article should be attached to the noun "voluntad".

vivir a voluntad de otros

vivir a la voluntad de otros

vivir a voluntades de otros

vivir a las voluntades de otros

2 Answers 2


I'd never use "a voluntad de". The only site where it appears to be used is this blog.

Normally, we would use a more explicit preposition or phrase with "voluntad":

  • vivir según la voluntad de los demás
  • vivir de acuerdo con la voluntad de los demás
  • vivir siguiendo la voluntad de los demás

(Notice that in the cases above we never use the plural for "voluntad", even if each person's "voluntad" differs from that of others.)

Only when the unit formed by "preposition + noun + de" is a set phrase can we do without the article before the abstract noun within the phrase and before the one that follows, for example:

  • a pedido de otros
  • por orden de otros
  • a criterio de otros

The only case that comes to mind of "voluntad" being used without an article is the phrase "a voluntad":

  • Comió a voluntad. (He ate as much as he wanted.)
  • Hi. Actually, I was under the impression that "a voluntad de otros" might be a set phrase -- therefore the lack of the definite article. If you HAD TO use this expression in this context, which of the four versions that I have listed would you use? Jun 9, 2018 at 23:54
  • Hi. I'd use the first one, but you should know it is highly unidiomatic.
    – Gustavson
    Jun 10, 2018 at 0:05

First, I think your idea would work better if you added "conforme": vivir conforme a.

It's pretty common in certain religious contexts to say

vivir conforme a la voluntad de Dios / Jesucristo / Alá (etc.)

Even though it doesn't appear to be as common to say "vivir conforme a la voluntad de" with some non-religious object of the preposition, I think it works fine. For example:

vivir conforme a la voluntad personal

Second, there is an idiomatic way of expressing your idea ("de otros"): ajena or ajena a uno. For example

vivir conforme a la voluntad ajena
vivir conforme a la voluntad ajena a uno

If I saw one of these phrases, I would think you were talking about autonomy or self determination -- which I think is what you are after.

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