Grammar - Complex Prepositions

In this Spanish Difficult Review quiz you will be looking at some of the more complex prepositions found in Spanish. You already know that prepositions are words that define the relationship that exists between different objects within a given sentence. A preposition also tells us what is happening and when it is happening.


Some of the more common prepositions in language include the words of: to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by and with. These prepositions are common because they are used quite frequently. However, there are prepositions that are not used as frequently, although they are still well known. These prepositions are classified as being complex prepositions.

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Complex prepositions occur when two or more words are combined together to show a function. Although there are complex prepositions in English, Spanish has many more as it takes several words to say what just one word will say in English. Learning these Spanish complex prepositions becomes important when you want to be able to communicate properly with native speakers. So let’s look at a list of just a few of the complex prepositions.

además de as well as, in addition to, besides
al lado de beside
antes de before
a pesar de despite
cerca de near or close to
de acuerdo con in accordance with
debajo de under, underneath
delante de in front of
dentro de within
fuera de except for
junto a (the J sounds like an H) next to, right by, near
lejos de (the J sounds like an H) far, away from

Did you notice that some of these have the same or very similar meanings? When it comes to which ones to use, it comes down to simple personal preference. All the same, it is good to know each way the words can be used so that when you hear them you will be able to recognize them.


The list above is a relatively short list so it shouldn’t be too difficult to remember them. Take it as slow or as fast as you like but take enough time to learn each one of them. Then, after you have studied the list and feel comfortable with these complex prepositions, it will be time to take the quiz. The quiz contains ten sentences with each sentence containing a complex preposition shown to you in all capitalized letters. Your task is to locate the correct Spanish translation without looking back at this introduction. Think you can do it? We know you can!

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  1. Janet, AS WELL AS Jayne, got an 'A' on their test.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means as well as is además de.
  2. The soda fountain was NEAR the hot dog stand.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means near is cerca de.
  3. Nana found her slippers UNDERNEATH the rocking chair.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means underneath is debajo de.
  4. Brush your teeth BEFORE you go to bed.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means before is antes de.
  5. Take the children AWAY FROM the edge of the cliff.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means away from is lejos de.
  6. She took the freeway DESPITE the construction on it.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means despite is a pesar de.
  7. The boys found themselves WITHIN the courtyard.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means within is dentro de.
  8. She packed all the bags EXCEPT FOR her carry-on.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means except for is fuera de.
  9. He submitted his application IN ACCORDANCE WITH the guidelines.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means in accordance with is de acuerdo con.
  10. She sat BESIDE her mother on the train.
    The Spanish complex preposition that means beside is al lado de.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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