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I have a problem with the preposición of the adjective "situado" I stumbled across the two sentences:

  1. "Su sede central es un edificio de tres plantas situado al sur de España"

But meanwhile, I also found:

  1. "Libia es un país situado en el desierto"

Could anyone explain why we use different preposiciones in 1. and 2.? Thanks in advance

  • Welcome to the site, Mike! Do please keep in mind that there's more wiggle room for preposition choice than for some other things. – aparente001 Dec 30 '19 at 3:30
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The phrase estar situado usually goes with en, as en usually denotes location and a usually denotes movement. For example, one would say

  • La sede está situada [en la calle Comedias/en Málaga/en España].

But expressions with the cardinal points (norte, sur, este, oeste) are an exception, where al sur de can be used to mean (in the) south of, even if it implies no movement. As explained by Fundéu, al sur de can mean either "south of, but outside" or "south of, but inside". In the second case (which is the one in your example), using en el sur de is also valid and even preferred to avoid ambiguity.

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situado a usually means that whatever is located roughly, more or less... example 'situado a tres metros de la playa', even if it says 3m, it is a rough estimate.

en usually means that the indication is more precise

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