As a beginner Spanish student, the word bajo may well be among the first words one learns, typically as an adjective meaning “short.” However, like many words in Spanish, this word has a whole plethora of meanings and can additionally function as a preposition, adverb, noun, and even a verb!
Let’s start by examining the use of the word bajo as a preposition. Although its translation is almost always “under” or “below,” like its English equivalent, this could refer not only to physical location, but also to the state of being subject to some influence. Let’s take a look at the following examples from our Yabla Spanish library.
One possible meaning of the preposition bajo is "in a position below something else":
pero no entiendo qué hace mi amiga un día de semana bajo este árbol tan maravilloso.
but I don't understand what is my friend doing on a weekday under this wonderful tree.Play Caption
Another, similar meaning of “bajo,” which also involves location, suggests that something is beneath the surface or covered by something:
Tengo aquí bajo mi almohada tu fotografía
I have your picture here under my pillow
Caption 20, La Oreja de Van Gogh InmortalPlay Caption
Moving on to uses of the preposition bajo not involving location, like “under” in English, bajo could also express the concept of being less than:
congelando lo que es la punta de la botella en una solución que está a diez o quince grados bajo cero.
freezing the tip of the bottle in a solution that is ten or fifteen degrees below zero.
Captions 33-34, Europa Abierta Champagne en AndalucíaPlay Caption
The Spanish preposition bajo could additionally mean "in accordance with" or "subject to the terms of," for example, some agreement:
Algunos clientes bajo contrato, le pre-maduramos la fruta
[For] some customers under contract, we pre-ripen the fruit
Caption 99, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 18Play Caption
And finally, although we have only touched on some of its many nuanced meanings, we’ll take a look at an example in which the preposition bajo entails being managed or governed by something:
Para su información, todo el personal de servicio está bajo mi mando, ¿sí?
For your information, all the service staff is under my authority, right?
Caption 49, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8Play Caption
Now, let’s look at bajo as an adjective. Its most common translations are “short” or “low,” both in terms of height or level and in reference to intensity or morality. Here are some examples from the Yabla Spanish video library:
Y es muy gracioso porque Pedro es todo lo contrario de Carolina. Es bajo, es gordo,
And it's very funny because Pedro is totally the opposite of Carolina. He's short, he's fat,
Captions 32-33, El Aula Azul Mis PrimosPlay Caption
Desde chiquito el bajo mundo conocía
Since he was a child, he knew the underworld
Caption 4, La Secta ConsejoPlay Caption
Se manifestaban porque el sueldo era muy bajo,
They were on strike because their salary was very low,
Caption 33, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4Play Caption
As an adverb, bajo could also be translated as “low” in some cases (for example, when describing a helicopter flying “low”) or “softly” or “quietly” when referring to one’s speech:
¡Que le quede claro! -¡Shhhhh, habla bajo!
Let that be clear to you! -Shhhhh, speak quietly!
Caption 42, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 2Play Caption
Much more straightforwardly, as a noun, the word bajo refers to the musical instrument, the bass:
Entonces yo dije: "Yo... yo puedo tocar... Yo puedo tocar el bajo."
So, I said, "I... I can play... I can play the bass."
Caption 50, Carli Muñoz Niñez - Part 2Play Caption
And finally, it is worth noting that bajo is the first person singular, present tense conjugation of the verb “bajar” (to go or come down or get off or out).
Ya está, la comida... -Sí, sí, sí, ya, yo ya bajo.
It's ready, the food... -Yes, yes, yes, now, I'm coming down now.
Caption 72, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6Play Caption
We hope that this lesson has shed light on some of the ways the word bajo can function as a preposition - in addition to a noun, verb, adjective or adverb! If you would like to see many additional examples in context, simply enter the word bajo in the search bar at the top of the Videos page to find matches in the transcripts of the Yabla Spanish library. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Are you familiar with prepositions in Spanish? Today, we will talk about the preposition en, which is one of the most commonly used prepositions in the Spanish language. In fact, this preposition works like the English prepositions “in,” “on” and “at.” Let's take a look.
We use the preposition en when we want to state that something ocurred in a particular year or when we want to make a reference to a particular season or month of the year. In other words, we use the preposition en when talking about time.
Esa institución dejó de existir en mil novecientos noventa y nueve
That institution ceased to exist in nineteen ninety-ninePlay Caption
Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.
And in winter it tends to be very cold.
Caption 15, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1Play Caption
En abril, llueve mucho.
In April, it rains a lot.
Caption 17, El Aula Azul Estaciones y MesesPlay Caption
When it comes to time, we also use the preposition en when we want to express a particular amount of time:
En veinte minutos se va a servir la cena.
In twenty minutes dinner is going to be served.
Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 5Play Caption
The preposition en in Spanish is also used when we want to indicate the location of a person or object.
Estoy en la escuela, El Aula Azul.
I am at the school, The Blue Classroom.
Caption 4, El Aula Azul Ser y EstarPlay Caption
El perro de Ana duerme en el horno.
Ana's dog sleeps in the oven.Play Caption
One of the most common uses of the preposition en is when we use it to talk about means of transportation.
Me fui a Bélgica con mi novio en avión.
I went to Belgium with my boyfriend on a plane.
Caption 2, Blanca y Mariona Proyectos para el veranoPlay Caption
The preposition en is also used to express the value of something.
y las cabañas sin baño están en ochenta mil pesos.
and the cabins without a bathroom go for eighty thousand pesos.
Caption 35, Cleer y Lida Reservando una habitaciónPlay Caption
Finally, the preposition en is also used to indicate how something is carried out.
En silencio pensaré tan sólo en ti
In silence I will think only of you
Caption 34, La Oreja de Van Gogh Deseos De Cosas ImposiblesPlay Caption
In this example, notice how we can use the preposition en along with the verb pensar (to think) when we want to express "thinking of" someone or something.
Apart from the uses we have mentioned above, the preposition en can be found in various expressions that are quite common in Spanish. Let's look at some of them:
¿Es en serio?
Acuérdate que tenemos muchos amigos en común.
Remember that we have a lot of friends in common.Play Caption
En realidad, sólo con la práctica podemos entender mejor.
Actually, only with practice can we better understand.Play Caption
To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition en in Spanish:
- When talking about time (years, month, seasons or amount of time)
- To indicate the location of a person or an object
- To indicate the means of transportation
- To express the value of something
- To indicate how something is carried out.
- In some very common expressions
That's it for today. Now that you know how to use the preposition en in Spanish, try to write some sentences with all the different uses we mentioned throughout this lesson. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about prepositions in Spanish! Today, we will discuss the very often used and common preposition de. This preposition has lots of uses in Spanish and because of that, we can use it like the following English prepositions: from, of, in, and even than. Let’s have a look.
There are several ways we can use the preposition de in Spanish. For example, we use the preposition de when we want to indicate the nationality or origin of someone or something:
¿De dónde eres? -Soy de Alemania
Where are you from? -I am from Germany.
Captions 36-37, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?Play Caption
We also use the preposition de when we want to indicate the material that something is made of.
El lápiz está hecho de madera,
The pencil is made of wood,Play Caption
Similarly, we use the preposition de when we want to describe the features or characteristics of someone or something, in other words, when we want to describe a noun with another noun.
Se toma mucho el jugo de naranja que tiene mucha vitamina C.
Orange juice is consumed a lot as it has a lot of vitamin C.Play Caption
Eh, sobre todo aquí tenemos libros de historia de, eh…
Um, most of all, here we have history books about, um…
Caption 60, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de bibliotecaPlay Caption
un profesor de español,
a Spanish teacher,Play Caption
One of the most common uses of the preposition de is when we use it to talk about possession. Let’s look at an example.
Es una empresa de tradición familiar, de mis abuelos,
It's a company with a family tradition from my grandparents,
Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Carne ecológica y seguraPlay Caption
In the example above, you can see that the first de is used to describe the company, while the second de is used to indicate possession (the company belongs to the grandparents). We can also use the preposition de in terms of “possession” when we want to indicate the relation that connects people.
El novio de Claudia es un tipo muy pinta.
Claudia's boyfriend is a very "pinta" [handsome] guy.Play Caption
The preposition de also helps us to indicate a cause when it is placed after an adjective and before a verb.
Estoy ya cansado de estar endeudado
I am tired of being in debt (I’m tired because I’m always in debt)
Caption 3, Bacilos - Mi Primer MillónPlay Caption
We can also use the preposition de when we want to express something using a comparison or a point of reference with the expressions más de (more than) or menos de (less than):
Sí, un poquito menos de quinientos mil habitantes.
Yes, a little less than five hundred thousand inhabitants.
Caption 47, Buenos Aires - Heladería CumelenPlay Caption
Besides the uses we mentioned above, we also use the preposition de when talking about expressions of time. Let’s see how:
Supongamos que son las cinco de la tarde
Let's suppose that it's five in the eveningPlay Caption
And finally, we use the preposition de along with the preposition a to indicate a particular range or period. Like in the following example:
El horario es de lunes a viernes
The schedule is from Monday to Friday
Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2Play Caption
To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition de in Spanish:
- To indicate nationality or origin
- To indicate the material that something is made of
- To describe the features or characteristics of someone or something (to describe a noun with another noun)
- To indicate possession
- To indicate a cause (after an adjective and before a verb)
- To express a comparison or point of reference (with más de or menos de)
- To talk about expressions of time
- To indicate a particular range (with the preposition a)
When the preposition de goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction del (de + el). Just as it happens with the contraction al (a + el), when you have the preposition de next to the article el, the contraction del is mandatory!
Estos son los números del uno al cien.
These are the numbers from one to a hundred.
Caption 44, El Aula Azul - Los Números del 1-100Play Caption
In this example, we can see both contractions (del and al) in action. Also, in this sentence, the speaker is using the preposition de and the preposition a together because she is indicating a range. Remember that it would be wrong to say that sentence in the following way: Estos son los números de el uno a el cien.
That's all for now. If you feel like it, try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition de. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Today, we will discuss a very common and useful preposition. Just like most prepositions, the preposition a in Spanish can be used in various different ways. While we usually think of the preposition a as the English equivalent of to, this preposition can also work as in, on, from, by and at. Let’s take a look.
To begin with, we use the preposition a to indicate motion to a particular place:
Por ejemplo, yo quiero viajar a Noruega la próxima semana…
For example, I want to travel to Norway next week…
Caption 10, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula - Part 1Play Caption
Llegué a Londres hace tres meses.
I arrived in London three months ago.Play Caption
We also use the preposition a when we want to connect a main verb with a verb in the infinitive. For example, when we are referring to the moment a particular action started:
En poco tiempo, la gente comenzó a hacer el mal.
After a short period of time, people began to do evil.Play Caption
In this context, however, one of the most common uses of the preposition a is when we want to express a future action using the following formula: ir (to go) + a (to) + infinitive verb:
Entonces el día de hoy, a petición de Chuy, vamos a hacer una carne asada.
So today, at Chuy's request, we're going to make grilled meat.Play Caption
We also use the preposition a in Spanish when we want to indicate the end of a particular period of time:
El horario es de lunes a viernes
The schedule is from Monday to Friday
Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2Play Caption
Another very common use of this preposition is when we want to indicate a particular point in a scale (time, distance, speed, temperature, etc.):
Estamos situados a cuarenta kilómetros de Barcelona
We are located forty kilometers from BarcelonaPlay Caption
Me levanto todas las mañanas a las siete
I get up every morning at seven o'clock
Caption 28, Club de las ideas - Pasión por el golf - Part 1Play Caption
Finally, we use the preposition a before a direct object when that object is a person. Similarly, we also use this preposition when we want to introduce an indirect object:
A mi hermana le gusta el color rojo.
My sister likes the color red.
Caption 7, Español para principiantes - Los coloresPlay Caption
Entonces, nosotros les compramos a las personas para que...
So, we buy from people so that...Play Caption
When the preposition a goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction al (a + el):
No quiero viajar al mundo espacial
I don't want to travel to the space world
Caption 20, La Gusana Ciega - Invasión EstelarPlay Caption
pero sí os recomiendo que vengáis aquí al parque
but I do recommend that you come here to the park
Caption 80, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: LémuresPlay Caption
Please keep in mind that when you have the preposition a next to the article el, the contraction al is mandatory! For this reason, and considering the examples we just mentioned, it would have been wrong to say the following:
No quiero viajar a el mundo
… que vengáis aquí a el parque
In both cases, you need to use the contraction al.
That's all for now. Try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition a. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Let's talk about prepositions! Today, we will discuss a very useful preposition that also has lots of meanings. Our guest today is the preposition sobre!
We usually use sobre as the equivalent of the English preposition about (with regard to):
Os voy a contar a... cosas sobre uno de los lugares más típicos de Barcelona
I'm going to tell you about... things about one of the most typical places in Barcelona
Caption 24, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de BarcelonaPlay Caption
Te cité porque quiero escribir un libro sobre meditación,
I called you here because I want to write a book about meditation,Play Caption
The preposition sobre can also be used as the equivalent of the English adverb about (approximately) when we want to indicate an approximate time, quantity or number:
Perfecto. Y, ¿sobre qué hora te vendría bien?
Perfect. And, about what time would be good for you?Play Caption
Very often, the preposition sobre indicates the position of a particular person or object. In this case, sobre acts as the English prepositions over and on:
No quieras caminar sobre el dolor... descalza
Don't wish to walk over the pain... barefoot
Caption 6, Camila - Aléjate de miPlay Caption
Vamos a ponerlas sobre un papel aluminio.
We are going to put them on a piece of aluminum foil.Play Caption
While we usually use sobre as a preposition, this isn’t always the case. For instance, the preposition sobre is often used next to the word todo to form the adverbial phrase sobre todo, which means especially or particularly. You can see how the following sentence uses both sobre (about) and sobre todo (especially):
hay varios artículos sobre esto y sobre todo en dependencia a la edad del niño
there are several articles about this and especially depending on the age of the child,
Caption 85, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 4Play Caption
And finally, don’t forget that the word sobre can also be a noun, which means envelope in Spanish:
y que están en este sobre que se mandan a Claridad,
and which are in this envelope that are sent to Claridad
Caption 56, Seva Vive - 2. La coplaPlay Caption
de recoger todos esos sobres que repartió la Mojiganga...
of collecting all those envelopes that the Mojiganga gave out...
Caption 35, Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 3Play Caption
That's all for now. Try to write some sentences with all the different uses that we mentioned for the word sobre. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning how to combine prepositions such as a, ante, con, de, desde, en, para, por, and sin (among others) is key to being able to build complex ideas in Spanish. For example, you can use them to introduce a subordinate clause in a very simple sentence:
Voy al banco a cambiar un cheque (I go/I'm going to the bank to cash a check)
Voy al banco para cambiar un cheque (I go/I'm going to the bank to cash a check)
Voy al banco con María (I go/I'm going to the bank with Maria)
Voy al banco de la esquina (I go/I'm going to the bank on the corner of the street)
Voy al banco desde temprano (I go/I'm going to the bank early in the morning)
Voy al banco en carro (I go/I'm going to the bank by car)
Voy al banco por unos documentos (I go/I'm going to the bank to get some documents)
Voy al banco según me indicaste (I go/I'm going to the bank as you told me to)
Voy al banco sin mi paraguas (I go/I'm going to the bank without my umbrella)
You can also combine prepositions with other particles in Spanish. One interesting case is the combination of prepositions with the word que. Let's focus on the combination a que (entirely different from a qué), which is very useful! Here's an example:
Pues yo te invito a que lo pruebes.
Well, I invite you to try it.
Caption 87, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 6Play Caption
Another way to express the same idea in Spanish is te invito a probarlo (I invite you to try it). Do you notice the difference? The preposition a introduces a verb in the infinitive (probarlo) while the combination a que introduces a clause with a conjugated verb (pruebes).
Another example/meaning of a que is:
Mi padre era muy reacio a que [yo] las tocara.
My father was very reluctant for me to touch them.
Caption 57, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10Play Caption
As you can see, English has a different, more convoluted way to express this idea of being reluctant about an action performed by a third person. But the Spanish a que construction can be combined with a conjugated verb in the subjunctive. If you were wondering, you can't express this precise idea in Spanish using the infinitive. But if the subjunctive is still hard for you, try something simple and depersonalized: Mi padre era muy reacio a tocarlas (My father was very reluctant to touch them).
The phrase a que can be used to answer someone who's asking an a qué question:
¿A qué viniste? -Vine a que me pagues.
What did you come for? - I came for you to pay me.
Finally, there's an expression using the combination a que that you will surely like. It's used to confirm that we are on the same page with somebody, that we agree about something:
¿Tú la cuidas bien a que sí?
You take good care of her, right?
Caption 23, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16Play Caption
In Spanish this expression a que sí is equivalent and very similar to ¿verdad que sí? (literally "is it true that yes?"). It can also be used in the negative form:
¿A que no adivinas dónde estuvimos?
I bet you won't guess where we were?Play Caption
You can think of this expression as a short version of the phrase apuesto a que no (I bet that you don't...), which is also used in positive terms: apuesto a que sí (I bet you do...), by the way. It's just much more common to use the negative form to stress the daring nature of this expression. But it's perfectly correct to say: ¡A que sí puedes. Inténtalo! (I bet you can. Try!).
That's all for now! We'll explore more of these combinations in future lessons. Don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com.