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Grammar - Prepositions de, en, para and por

In this Spanish Medium Review quiz you will be learning more about the prepositions of de, en, para and por. One thing that sometimes can be more confusing in Spanish than it is in English is the use of certain prepositions. That is especially true of the four specific Spanish prepositions looked at in this quiz.

DE

The preposition 'de' is commonly used to mean 'of' and shows you who or what something belongs to and/or what something is made of. It is also often used with many verbs such as 'cansarse de' (to tire of), 'dejar de' (to stop), 'depender de' (to depend on), 'terminar de' (to finish) and 'tratar de' (to try to). It can also be used with certain expressions such as 'de nada' (of nothing – or meaning 'you’re welcome'), 'de pie' (standing up), 'de prisa' (in a hurry), 'de pronto' (suddenly), 'de todos modos' (anyway) and 'de verdad' (really and/or truly).

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The preposition 'de' is also used with the preposition 'a' to mean 'from… to' as in 'from morning to night'. In Spanish this would be 'de mañana a noche'. Finally, one other thing to note is that when 'de' is followed by the definite article 'el', the two words combine to become 'del'. For example: 'of the time' would be 'del tiempo'.

EN

The preposition 'en' is used for 'in' and 'on'. For example: 'she is in the house' becomes 'ella está en la casa'. Next, 'it is on the table' becomes 'lo está en la mesa'. Note that 'en' can also be used to mean 'into' such as in 'he went into the house' would be 'él entró en la casa'. It can also be used as 'at' such as in 'he is at home' becomes 'él está en casa”. In addition, 'en' can also mean 'by' such as 'he went by car' which would be 'él fue en coche'.

In addition, 'en' is commonly used after certain verbs such as 'consistir en' (to consist of), 'convenir en' (to agree to), 'insistir en' (to insist on), 'pensar en' (to think about and/or to contemplate) and 'tardar en' (to delay in). Spanish does not have all of these different words to use as does English. Some think this makes things simpler while others have a little more difficulty grasping the concept. You will simply need to take the time that you need to become comfortable with this preposition.

PARA

The preposition 'para' is commonly used to mean 'for' when the meaning of that 'for' is to indicate 'for me', 'for him', 'for her', 'for you', 'for it', 'for them' and 'for us'. As an example, let’s look at the following. 'I got this for you' in Spanish would be 'yo tengo esto para ti', or 'I went for her' would be 'fui para ella'.

'Para' is also used to indicate 'in order to'. As an example: 'I did it to help you' would be 'lo hice para ayudarte' (It I did in order to help you.)

POR

The preposition 'por' is commonly used to mean 'for' as in 'because of', 'for the benefit of' and 'in exchange for'. As an example, let’s look at the following. 'They do it for grandmother.' In Spanish that would be said as: 'Lo hacen por abuela.' (It they do for the benefit of grandmother.). Another example would be: 'Change this one for that one.' In Spanish it would be: 'Cambiar ésta por aquél.' (Change this one in exchange for that one.)

'Por' can also mean 'by' as in 'by mail' would be 'por correo'.

Finally, 'por' can also mean 'along', 'through' and 'around'.

Because each of these prepositions can be used in place of so many other prepositions, it takes some time to learn just how and when to use which one. Like anything, with practice, within time the words will easily flow into their proper usage. One good thing to remember, however, is that many native Spanish speakers will understand you even if you improperly use these prepositions. Of course they may chuckle a bit. They will be happy that you are at least making an attempt. All the same, you should still try to grasp the usage of each preposition so this quiz is going to help you with these four.

Below there are ten sentences with a preposition that in shown in all capitalized letters. Your task is to locate the correct preposition for that sentence. Take your time and think about it first before your choose an answer.

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  1. Thank you FOR the information.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Gracias por la información. Por is used here because you are actually saying, 'Thank you for the benefit of the information.'
  2. The glass is FOR water.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: El vaso es para agua. Para is used here to indicate that the glass is 'for it'.
  3. The ring is gold.
    This might be a little tricky at first. To begin with, the Spanish translation of the given sentence is: El anillo es de oro. De is used here to indicate that the ring is made of gold even though in English the word of is not used in the sentence, although it is silently implied. (That is why you do not see the preposition in this English sentence.)
  4. He did it FOR you.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Lo hizo para usted. Para is used here to indicate that 'he did it in order for you'.
  5. We walk THROUGH the park.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Caminamos por el parque. Por is used for the word through in this sentence rather than for the word for.
  6. We are IN love.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Estamos en el amor. En is used here for the word in.
  7. She takes a piece OF bread.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Ella toma un trozo de pan. De is used here to indicate possession of the bread.
  8. He travels BY airplane.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Viaja por avión. Por is used for the word by in this sentence rather than for the word for.
  9. William was ON track.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Guillermo estaba en la pista. En is used here for the word on.
  10. This gift is FOR you.
    The Spanish translation of the given sentence is: Este regalo es para ti. Para is used here to indicate that this gift is for you.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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