3 Spanish Prepositions That Everyone Should Use

Learning to correctly use prepositions in Spanish is essential to you grasping a key part of the Spanish language.

Spanish prepositions connect words and allow you to create well structured sentences.

In this article, I’m going to teach you three super important prepositions to add to your Spanish toolkit.

Entre, hacia, and hasta are the three main Spanish words we will be discussing.

Believe it or not, you are probably using them without even realizing it. This is a good sign!

Now let's make sure you master them. Ready to get started?

Entre in Spanish

Spanish Preposition #1: Entre

Entre is a useful preposition which translates to “among,” “between,” or “among themselves” (entre sí).

Luckily, it is pretty straight forward.

Make sure you don’t confuse it with the conjugation entre of the verb entrar (“to enter” in English) and you’re good to go! Just use it as you would in English.

Using Entre to Mean Between or Among

As we established, entre translates into the English words "between" or "among."

However, there are a few instances in which it does not function as a literal translation simply because of the way the sentence is structured in both languages... but, the meaning is close enough.

You will definitely be able to understand it.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Spanish prepositions to learn

Levantaron el mueble entre tres personas. => They picked up the furniture with three people.

Entre mis hijos y mis estudios no me queda tiempo para nada más. => Between my children and my studies I don’t have any time left for anything else.

Hay un traidor entre nosotros. => There is a traitor among us.

Entre los cuatro juntamos el dinero suficiente para el regalo. => Between the four of us we collected enough money for the gift.

El ladrón liberó a los rehenes. Entre ellos había seis mujeres, cuatro hombres y dos niños. => The thief freed the hostages. There were six women, four men, and two children among them.

Las relaciones entre el vaticano y la comunidad política ha cambiado mucho en los últimos años. => The relationship between the Vatican and the politicians has changed a lot in the last few years.

Estamos entre los países con mayor índice de alfabetización. => We’re among the countries with the highest index of literacy.

Spanish Prepositions

Entre los pastizales aguardaba el jaguar en silencio.

The jaguar awaited silently in the meadow.

Entre la multitud él reconoció a su padre. => He recognized his father in the crowd.

Entre la lluvia ella pudo ver que aquel hombre entraba en el bar. => In the rain she could see the man entering the bar.

There you go. These are some great examples to get you started using entre.

Pull out a paper and pen and write down your first phrase with entre right now!

Feel free to base it off one of the other sentences above. Make it unique to you and you will be sure to remember it later.

Using Entre Sí Meaning Among Themselves

Combining entre with results in an adverbial phrase that translates into "among themselves” or "with each other” in English.

Let’s take a look at a few examples so you can see what I mean.

wolves

Los animales compiten entre sí por la presa. => The animals compete among themselves for the prey.

Ellos se pelean entre sí como hermano y hermana. => They fight with each other like brother and sister.

Los lobos eligen entre sí al líder de la manada. => The wolves pick among themselves the leader of the pack.

Los átomos se unen entre sí para formar una molécula. => The atoms unite among themselves to form a molecule.

Los jugadores discuten entre sí diferentes tácticas de juego. => The players discuss among themselves different game tactics.

Idiomatic Expressions Using Entre

Remember, attempting to translate a Spanish idiom word-for-word may result in a hot mess.

They are funny little figurative words or phrases that you will have to memorize and learn how to use correctly in its proper context.

They are extremely common among native Spanish speakers and you will be well served to learn them.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

Entre semana debo terminar el proyecto. => During the week (during the course of the week), I must finish the project.

Entre semana el servicio de trenes funciona con mayor frecuencia. => During the week (on weekdays) the train service runs more frequently. 

Walter está entre la vida y la muerte. => Walter is between life and death (fighting for his life).
shop

Me fui de compras y entre tanto mi esposo se quedó con los niños en casa. => I went shopping while my husband stayed at home with the kids.

Entre tanto, el país ha comenzado a mostrar signos de mejora. => Meanwhile, the country has started to show signs of improvement.

El robo ocurrió en el entretanto del cambio de turno. => The robbery took place during the shift change.

En el entretanto de buscar un departamento en la ciudad, viví con mi hermana. => While looking for an apartment in the city, I lived with my sister.

Pro Tip: Make sure to spell entretanto together when used as a noun.

Spanish Preposition #2: Hacia

Hacia in Spanish

Hacia is another useful preposition to learn in Spanish as it translates to “toward” or “to.”

However, there are instances where it can also have other meanings.

Don’t worry, we’ll cover all the possible scenarios.

Hacia is not to be confused with hacía (third person singular form of the verb hacer in the imperfect tense).

Yep, that’s right, you have to watch out for that tiny little accent mark!

When To Use Hacia In Spanish

1) To indicate motion toward a person or object

exit

Estela caminó hacia la salida. => Estela walked toward the exit.

Juan le indicó a Mónica el camino hacia el estadio. => Juan showed Monica the way to the stadium.

Para llegar al restaurante debes caminar cinco cuadras hacia el este. => To reach the restaurant you have to walk five blocks toward the east.

Debes esperar a que el semáforo esté verde para girar hacia la izquierda. => You have to wait for the stop light to turn green to be able to turn to the left.

2) To indicate directional phrases

These Spanish directional phrases are sure to come up whenever you are listening to or giving directions.

Make sure to learn these 4 essential directional prepositions below.

arrow


hacia abajo = down, downward

hacia adelante = forward

hacia arriba = up, upward

hacia atrás = back, backward

Here are a few examples using hacia to illustrate directionals.

Si miras hacia arriba verás el cielo lleno de estrellas. => If you look up you will see the sky full of stars.

Caminó hacia adelante cinco pasos y se encontró con una escena terrorífica. => He/She walked forward five steps to find a horrific scene.

Cuando el bebé baila se mueve hacia adelante y hacia atrás. => The baby moves forward and backward when he/she dances.

Debe mover la cabeza hacia abajo para lograr la posición de yoga correcta. => You have to move your head down to reach the right yoga position.

3) To express a time estimate

Spanish Prepositions

Time is another common way to implement the useful word hacia.

Take a look at at some of the examples below.

¿Nos encontramos en el cine hacia las nueve? => Do you want to meet at the movie theater at around nine?

La fiesta comienza hacia las seis. => The party starts at about six.

Fue fundada hacia 1810. => It was established around 1810.

No se sabe la fecha exacta de su muerte pero fue hacia 1890. => The exact date of his/her death is unknown but it was around 1890.

hacia in Spanish

Debemos llegar hacia las nueve para conseguir buenos asientos.

We have to arrive around nine to get good seats.

4) To express emotions or positions toward a person or thing

Last, but not least, hacia is very useful to express emotions towards different people and things.

If you have been learning Spanish for a good while, I am sure you have heard a few of these.

Las encuestas revelan un aumento del apoyo popular hacia el presidente. => The polls reveal an increase in support for the president.

dog love

Tengo sentimientos profundos hacia mi perro. => I have deep feelings for my dog.

Son amigos pero ella oculta sentimientos más profundos hacia él. => They are friends but she keeps back strong feelings for him.

Spanish Preposition #3: Hasta

Hasta in Spanish

Lastly, hasta is a preposition in Spanish with a wide variety of meanings.

For instance, you can use hasta to mean, “until,” “up to,” “as far as,” “even,” and “to.”

That’s right, hasta is another one of those useful Spanish words that can be spoken (or written) in a variety of ways.

On top of the various meanings listed above, hasta is commonly used in Spanish expressions and idioms.

Once you see a few below, you’ll see just how valuable they are.

Do phrases like “¡hasta la vista!”,  “¡hasta mañana!”, “¡hasta siempre!”, or “¡hasta luego!” sound familiar?

I’m here to break it down and tell you exactly why we use hasta here.

When To Use Hasta in Spanish

1) An allusion to time (Hasta => until)

Hasta is very commonly used in different phrases with time.

In many of these phrases below, hasta can be directly translated to the English word “until.”

Have you ever taken a second to think about how often you use the word “until” in English?

Likewise, hasta is especially important in phrases of time.

time

Let’s dive into the examples.

El tren estará fuera de servicio hasta las tres de la tarde debido a reparaciones en la vía. => The train will be out of service until 3pm because of railroad repairs.

Tienes hasta las ocho para entregarme el ensayo. => You have until eight to turn in the essay.

La tienda está abierta hasta las siete de la tarde. => The store is open until 7pm.

Todo iba bien hasta que mencioné a mi ex. => Everything was going well until I mentioned my ex.

Hasta Spanish Preposition

Juan esperó hasta último momento para estudiar para el examen de matemática. => Juan waited until the last minute to study for the mathematics exam.

Ella persistió y persistió hasta que logró su objetivo. => She persisted and persisted until she reached her goal.

2) An allusion to place and location

Hasta is also commonly used with different phrases with a place or location.

In this case, hasta can be used to mean until a certain place or as far as a place.

It’s hard to give a literal translation here, but I think you will get the point with the examples below.

astronaut

Pedro viajó hasta Japón. => Pedro traveled as far as Japan.

El hombre viajó hasta la luna. => Mankind traveled as far as the moon.

La nave llegó hasta Marte. => The spaceship reached as far as Mars.

3) An allusion to measurements (Hasta => up to)

Furthermore, hasta is commonly used in measurements, weight, height, cost, and so on.

When you say something can reach up to or until a certain amount, in Spanish you would use the word hasta.

Let’s clarify it with a few examples:

Los elefantes pueden pesar hasta seis toneladas. => Elephants can weigh up to six tons.

La Cordillera de los Andes tiene picos de hasta más de seis mil metros de altura. => The Andes mountains have peaks up to more than six thousand meters high.

El auto puede alcanzar una velocidad de hasta doscientos kilómetros por hora. =>The car can reach a speed of up to two hundred kilometers an hour.

Hasta Spanish examples

Las pinturas en esa galería pueden costar hasta diez mil dólares.

The paintings in that gallery can cost up to 10 thousand dollars.

Voy a darte cincuenta dólares pero solo puedes gastar hasta veinte en comida. => I’m going to give you fifty dollars but you can only spend up to twenty on food.

Examples Of Other Ways To Use Hasta

Here’s a few last examples of hasta used in ways not described above.

By now, these might start to make sense based on some of the prior examples listed above.

¡Hasta los vecinos de los vecinos escucharon tus gritos! => Even the neighbors of the neighbors heard you screaming!

Hasta tu propio hermano te dijo que no era una buena idea. => Even your own brother told you it wasn’t a good idea.

Spanish preps

Desde aquí hasta allí. => From here to there.

Desde Buenos Aires hasta Santiago hay 1400 kilómetros. => It is 1,400 kilometers from Buenos Aires to Santiago.

Spanish Idioms Using Hasta

Idiomatic phrases like the few mentioned above: “¡hasta la vista!”,  “¡hasta mañana!”, “hasta siempre”, "¡hasta luego!” are widely used as a common way of saying “goodbye.”

I have no doubt you have heard these and likely have used them at some point.

If not, make sure to try them out!

goodbye

Hasta la vista => See you later

Hasta mañana => See you tomorrow

Hasta siempre => Until we meet again someday

Hasta luego => See you later

Hasta entonces => See you then

Here are a few more that maybe aren't so common. It’s all the more reason to learn them!

Estar hasta las narices => To be fed up with a situation

Example: Estoy hasta las narices de tu falta de motivación. => I’m fed up with your lack of motivation.

Hasta aquí => To this point

Example: ¿Cómo llegaste hasta aquí? => How did you get to this point?

Hasta aquí => Until now

Example: Hasta aquí venimos bien. => Until now we are doing well (From this point on it could go either way).

Spanish Prepositions to learn

Comí hasta no poder más.

I ate until I could not eat any more.

Me comí hasta el plato. => I ate everything on the plate.

Summing Up Entre, Hacia, and Hasta

Entre - Hacia - Hasta

Let’s take one last look at what we learned.

It’s important that you walk away with the fundamentals to these 3 useful Spanish prepositions.

I’ll summarize the uses once more along with a few more examples to clarify the points.

Entre

  • Between: Tienes que escoger entre estos dos trabajos. => You have to choose between these two jobs.
  • Among: Entre los sobrevivientes había un extranjero. => There was a foreigner among the survivors.
  • Among themselves: Discutieron entre sí. => They argued among themselves.
  • Other uses: Entre la multitud él reconoció a su padre. => He recognized his father in the crowd.

Hacia

  • Motion: Vamos hacia el centro. => We’re going toward downtown.
  • Phrases:
    • Hacia abajo => down, downward
    • Hacia adelante => forward
    • Hacia arriba => up, upward
    • Hacia atrás => back, backward
  • Time:
    • La fiesta comienza hacia las seis. => The party starts at about six.
    • Fue fundada hacia 1810. => It was established around 1810.
  • Feelings: Ella tiene sentimientos profundos hacia mí. => She has deep feelings towards me.

Hasta

  • Time: La tienda está abierta hasta las siete de la tarde. => The store is open until 7pm.
  • Place: Pedro viajó hasta Japón. => Pedro traveled as far as Japan.
  • Measurements: Los elefantes pueden pesar hasta seis toneladas. => Elephants can weigh up to six tons.
  • Other uses:  ¡Hasta los vecinos de los vecinos escucharon tus gritos! => Even the neighbors of the neighbors heard you screaming!
  • Desde aquí hasta allí. => From here to there.
  • Idioms: ¿Cómo llegaste hasta aquí? => How did you get to this point?


Final Word of Advice

Preps in Spanish

Congratulations! You've now mastered 3 essential Spanish prepositions... => entre, hacia, and hasta.

Remember, they come up in conversations all the time so go ahead and practice with your Spanish tutor or teacher.

The secret to learning when and how to use them correctly is to practice one preposition use at a time, using the model sentences in this article and other ones you can come up with.

Though it is advantageous to know the different uses for each one, you will be better served practicing directly with examples. Do it over and over until it sticks and makes sense in your head. Only THEN move on to the next one.

You can also make flashcards with sentences to help you learn.

You will start noticing when something doesn’t sound right, as that’s your instinctive understanding kicking in. And that’s the beauty of practicing!

Now that you have finished this lesson, make sure to check out this article on por vs. para as that's yet another common struggle for many Spanish students.

¡Hasta la vista, baby!

2 thoughts on “3 Spanish Prepositions That Everyone Should Use”

  1. Caminé hacia adelante hasta las tres, luego llamé a mi amiga Jo para organizar reunirnos en el parque hacia las cuatro.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Download or stream our Spanish spoken dialogue [8 min] and follow along with the transcript. It's our free gift to you!

 

learn spanish with audios