Prepositions DE and A: Spanish grammar (A1)

Prepositions DE and A indicates the starting point and the origin, respectively. Let’s see how they work, many examples and quizzes to practice:


Prepositions DE and A indicates the starting point and the origin

In general, preposition DE indicates a starting point or origin while A indicates a point of arrival or destination:

Ese chico es de Salamanca (This boy is from Salamanca).

¿De dónde eres Roberto? (Where are you from Roberto?)

¿Hoy no vas a la escuela?  (Don’t you go to the school today?)

¿Adónde te han enviado? (Where have you been sent to?)

1. The preposition de introduces information that characterizes, recognizes, specifies or identifies another thing. With de we indicate:

–   Material, substance or contents of something

Compré una camiseta de algodón (I bought a cotton shirt).

Vamos a comer un bocadillo de jamón (Let’s eat a ham sándwich).

–  Family relationship, possession

El marido de Ana es bombero en Madrid  (Ana’s husband is a firefighter in Madrid).

El abrigo de Enrique es marrón (Enrique coat is Brown).

– Type of object

Dame los vasos de vino (Give me the wine glasses).

El cuarto de baño es muy grande (The bathroom is very large).

The preposition a indicates a point of reference towards which one is going, is positioned or is associated with. With a indicate:

–  Positioning towards a part or a side of something

Oviedo está al norte de Madrid (Oviedo is North of Madrid).

Llegamos a las diez de la mañana (We arrived at 10.00 in the morning).

–  Point of reference

Mi casa está a la izquierda de la estación (My house is on the left of the station).

Le vi junto a la escuela (I saw him near the school).

–  The direct object of a person and an indirect object

¿Has llamado al médico? (Have you called the doctor?)

Compra un regalo a tu madre (Buy a gift to your mother).

– The manner in which some things are done or made to work

Este traje esta hecho a mano (This costume is handmade).

¿Vas a trabajar a pie? (Are you going to work on foot?)

3. De and a are the only two prepositions that always form a single word with the article el:

de + el = del          a + el = al

Vengo del trabajo (I come from work).

Voy al trabajo (I go to work).


 I hope you feel more confident now, about using Spanish prepositions DE and A. Now you can:

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