Prepositions are difficult to master regardless of the language you are learning, they all behave differently, not to mention when you try to use prepositions with verbs! As if propositions are not hard enough learning on their own!


I find a lot of students get confused or use the wrong prepositions (myself included when it comes to English). As in every language, they work differently, this is why I am giving you a few phrasal verbs you need to learn in order to take your Spanish to the next level.


Let’s start with a bit of context, and by context, I mean that I want to define what ‘phrasal verbs’ are.


Phrasal verbs are verbs that change their meanings when a preposition or an adverb is added to them. Let’s take the phrasal verb ‘find out’. It does not literally mean you need to go out and find something, it just means to discover something. So, the preposition changes the meaning of the main verb.


Phrasal verbs are constructed by adding a preposition or an adverb to the main verb. For example:


  • Take off (leave the ground) - Example: “My plane is about to take off”.
  • Blow out (explode) - Example: “My car tyre had a blow out on the motorway”.


I could give you much more difficult to understand examples in English, but since you are here to learn Spanish, let’s look at some of the most common Spanish phrasal verbs.


To make things easier, I would say that the most common prepositions in Spanish that are added to verbs are:


  • a
  • de
  • con


Consider the following example. Reír means “to laugh”. But if we add the preposition de, the wording changes to reírse de and it then means to ‘make fun of/to laugh at (someone or something)’.


Now you might be thinking, why learn phrasal verbs at all? Well, phrasal verbs are the best and most common ways to express something. For instance, we use acabar de to say that we have just done something. There is no other or better way to say it. In Spanish we simply ignore ‘just’ and use a phrasal verb instead to imply something just happened. There are plenty of examples just like this, so let’s have a look to some of them:



Dejar de


This means to fail to, to stop, to neglect to. In some cases you can use it like this:


  • Estoy muy contenta, he dejado de fumar y me siento genial.
  • I am very happy I stopped smoking and I feel great.


Or sometimes we can use it as a command:


  • Deja de hablar! Necesito estudiar.
  • Stop talking! I need to study.



Volver a


This means to return to doing something. Sometimes you stopped doing something, but then you pick it up again, so that’s when you can say, for example:


  • Necesitaba repasar los verbos irregulares en español, asi que volví a estudiarlos.
  • I needed to review the irregular verbs in Spanish so I went back and reviewed them.



Pensar de


This means to think about or to have an opinion about something. If you happen to get a new teacher, you can ask your classmate what they think about the new teacher, for example:


  • Qué piensas de la nueva profesora? 
  • What do you think about the new teacher?



Pensar en


This means to think of, to direct your thoughts to, for example, if you are in love:


  • No puedes dejar de pensar en esa persona. 
  • You can’t stop thinking of that person.



Soñar con


This means to dream about. Sometimes you can’t remember your dreams, but when you do, you may want to share them someone, so you can say:


  • Anoche soñé con Juan, estabamos en la playa y algo increíble sucedió.
  • I dreamt about Juan last night, we were at the beach and something unbelievable happened.



Contar con


This means to rely on, to count on. I am sure you have a good friend that you can rely on, you could describe them like this:


  • Siempre puedes contar con ellos.
  • You can always can count on them.



Alegrarse de


This means to be glad of something or someone. If your friend has got the job she wanted and worked so hard to get, you can congratulate her by saying:


  • Me alegro de que hayas conseguido el trabajo, te lo merecers!
  • I am so glad you got the job, you deserve it!



Enamorarse de


This means to fall in love with someone. So when you meet a guy or gal in Spain:


  • Te enamoras de él o ella.
  • You fall in love with him or her.



Casarse con


This means to get married. In Spain, if someone decides to make this big move, we would probably gossip about it by saying:


  • Has oído? María se va a casar con Alfonso por fin!
  • Have you heard? Mary is finally marrying Alfonso!



Echar de menos


This means to miss (someone). Probably, if you live far away from your family, you have moments when:


  • Echas de menos a tu familia.
  • You miss your family.



That’s it amigos, now you have a few Spanish phrasal verbs to practice! So as usual, it is your turn - please leave a comment below and let me know:


  • Do you use Spanish phrasal verbs often?
  • Are there any Spanish phrasal verbs that drive you crazy?
  • Which phrasal verb is the one you are going to focus on until you speak like a native?


Looking forward to reading all your comments.


And you know if you regularly read my articles, I am going to ask you to do a bit of homework. Since practice makes perfect, so this one is an easy one. Pick a phrasal verb and make some sentences with it. It does not need to be fancy. Better that they are good and simple rather than bad and complicated. So have a look at the examples above and write something similar. Feel free to write it in the comments section so I can give you some advice. As always I hope you enjoyed the article. Please keep in touch!


Hero image by Fletcher Clay (CC0 1.0)