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Spanish seems to use several different prepositions for "about " depending on the verb it relates to.

Pienso en mi perro. Hablo de mi perro. Escribo/leo sobre mi perro. Pregunto por mi perro.

Why? Is there a difference in meaning here that I'm missing or are these choices largely idiomatic? Without looking up every word, is there a way for me to correctly guess what preposition I should choose for less common verbs, like perhaps if I wanted to theorize about my dog, or even just use "fancier" synonyms of the verbs above.

Thank you.

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    I think you mean pienso not penso
    – mdewey
    Mar 24 at 15:07
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    Notice that Spanish is not so different from English in that aspect. In English there are specific prepositions to use depending on the verb and there exist even phrasal verbs with specific meanings depending on the adyacent particle.
    – RubioRic
    Mar 25 at 7:58
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The choice of the correct preposition is largely a question of idiomatic collocations: some verbs will take certain prepositions and not others.

  • pensar en ...

  • meditar / reflexionar sobre / acerca de ...

  • hablar / conversar de / sobre / acerca de ...

  • escribir / leer sobre / acerca de ...

  • preguntar por ...

  • soñar con ...

  • quejarse / protestar por / acerca de ...

  • quejarse de ...

In all of the combinations above, "about" can work in English but different prepositions will be used in Spanish. Short and simple as they look, I think prepositions are the words that offer the most difficulty when it comes to translating them into another language.

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