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Desde, sin, sobre, and hace

Let’s learn the last of our essential pronouns, including sin, sobre, desde, hace, and contra. We’ll also practice the possessive pronouns mío, tuyo, and suyo.

Full Podcast Episode


Todo esto será tuyo.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn the last of our essential prepositions, those little words such as con and en that can be placed right before nouns.

But first, let’s talk about how to say “where” in Spanish. We’ve already learned the word dónde for asking questions; for example, “Where are they?” We’re going to learn two more very closely related words.

First of all, to ask where someone is going, you don’t use the word dónde; you actually use the word adónde, which is spelled the exact same way, but with the letter A at the beginning. For example:

Where are they going?

¿Adónde van?

So it’s very much like saying, “to where are they going?” You would do this any time you’re talking about where someone is going to.

Next, consider this sentence in English:

I want to go where she went.

So the thing is, in this sentence, we have the word “where”, but it’s not a question. Instead, “where” is actually functioning as a conjunction. So if you examine this sentence closely, we have two entire clauses, “I want to go” and “she went”. Either one could be an entire sentence by itself. But the word “where” joins them together.

In Spanish, we have a conjunction for this, and… it’s the word donde! But it’s different from the word we’ve been practicing, because it doesn’t have an accent mark. So when you’re writing, you’ll use dónde, with an accent mark, for questions and for the idiom dónde estar (“a place to be”), but you’ll use donde, without the accent mark, when it’s a conjunction.

Let’s practice these words.

I want to be where she was.

Quiero estar donde ella estaba.

Do they know where she is going?

¿Saben adónde va? 

Where did he go?

¿Adónde fue?

I know that this place is where we threw the party.

Sé que este lugar es donde hicimos la fiesta.

Now let’s learn some prepositions.

The first one is very simple: The word sin, spelled s-i-n, means “without”. So compare these two sentences:

We went there with her.

Fuimos ahí con ella.

We went there without her.

Fuimos ahí sin ella.

So basically, sin is the opposite of con, just like “without” is the opposite of “with”.

Another simple preposition is bajo, which means “beneath”. This is spelled b-a-j-o. For example:

There’s something beneath her house.

Hay algo bajo su casa.

Our next preposition is the word contra, which means “against”. You’ll typically use this word when something is going against the direction of something else, or going against the interests of someone else. As an example:

I don’t have anything against him.

No tengo nada contra él.

They’re two against one.

Son dos contra uno.

You can also use the word contra in the idiom en contra de, which means “in opposition to” or “against”. You’ll use this when you’re talking about taking a stance on an issue. For example:

You know I am against injustice.

Sabes que estoy en contra de injustice.

Sabes que estoy en contra de la injusticia.

Here’s another way this might be used:

He wants to leave because he knows that I’m opposed to him.

Quiere irse porque sabe que estoy en su contra.

Let’s practice sin, contra, and bajo.

It’s under the table.

Está bajo the table.

Está bajo la mesa.

He was against my team.

Él estaba contra mi team.

Él estaba contra mi equipo.

Did you know there is a spider under your bed?

¿Sabías que hay a spider bajo tu bed?

¿Sabías que hay una araña bajo tu cama?

You can’t play against them without your best player.

No puedes play contra ellos sin tu mejor player.

No puedes jugar contra ellos sin tu mejor jugador.

She wants me to know that I can’t do it without her.

Quiere que yo sepa que no puedo hacerlo sin ella.

Our next preposition is the word sobre, which means “above” or “on top of”. We’ve already learned that en can mean “on”; for example, “the food is on the table” might use the word en. But remember that en most properly means “at”, in any sense where you’re describing the normal way of being somewhere. You would instead use sobre if you want to be particularly specific that something is on top of something else. As an example, if you say that someone is en their car, you probably just mean that they’re at their car or in their car, not on top of it. If you want to be specific that they’re standing on top of their car, you would use sobre.

Another important preposition is entre, which means either “between” or “among”. Here are some examples:

We’re between the two houses.

Estamos entre las dos casas.

We’re among friends here.

Estamos entre amigos aquí.

Now, by default, entre is used along with Estar to indicate location. But sometimes you might talk about something being between two people, meaning that it’s a secret between them. In those cases, you actually use Ser. For example:

I’m not sure, it’s something between them.

No estoy seguro, es algo entre ellos.

And then there’s the preposition durante, which means “during”. For example:

Someone left during the night.

Alguien se fue durante la noche.

Now this might be confusing, because we’ve also learned that por can mean “during”. The thing is, por obviously can take a lot of different meanings in Spanish, whereas durante has just this one specific meaning. So durante is often used where you could otherwise use por, but it’s a bit clearer to use durante to make it clear that you’re talking about something happening during a length of time.

In our quizzing, I’ll help you guess whether to use por or durante: When you’re expected to use durante, I’ll use the word “during”, and when you’re expected to use por for a length of time, I’ll either say “for” a length of time or “in”, such as “in the morning” for por la mañana.

Let’s practice sobre, entre, and durante.

There was a cat on the table during dinner.

Había a cat sobre the table durante dinner.

Había un gato sobre la mesa durante la cena.

There was a problem between us during that time.

Hubo un problema entre nosotros durante ese tiempo.

They will know it was between us.

Sabrán que fue entre nosotros.

I hope there isn’t a cloud above the house.

I hope que no haya a cloud sobre la casa.

Espero que no haya una nube sobre la casa.

Next, let’s learn a nuanced preposition, the word desde. But to learn this, we're going to have to revisit the word hasta. Remember that hasta means something like “until”. Let's use a mental visual to learn how the word desde relates to the word hasta.

So imagine that you're in a strange sort of marathon race where you have to crawl on your belly until you reach the finish line. The finish line has the giant word hasta on a banner, and maybe to make it more visual, people beyond the finish line are serving pasta, which rhymes with hasta. So obviously you're going to crawl “until” you reach the finish line, or hasta the finish line.

But what about the starting line? The place where you started this strange race was a cold, gray, and dreary area. The banner above the starting line says “Monday” on it. Everyone who started this race began at the beginning of the week, on Monday. This place that you're crawling from is called desde. So this word has a stress on something that sounds like “days”. However, be careful about the pronunciation. It's not “days-de”; use a nice short E. Desde.

Now, why do we need this weird, complex story for the words desde and hasta? Well, it has to do with the fact that these words actually don't have a direct translation between Spanish and English. The Spanish word hasta means something like “until”, but that's an oversimplification. And the word desde means something like “since”, but that’s also an oversimplification.

Both of these words have double meanings that relate to going “from” or “since” one point, “to” or “until” another point. So imagine that you started this race on Monday. You crawl and crawl for days until reaching the pasta people on Friday. There are two ways you could describe this situation. You could say that you crawled “from” the starting line “to” the finish line. Or you could say that you crawled “since” Monday “until” Friday.

So in either situation, what you’d say is that you crawled desde Monday hasta Friday, or desde the starting line hasta the finish line.

So these prepositions are used when you're traveling “from” or “since” one point, “to” or “until” another point, whether in time or in space. So there are two ways that you can think about these words, just like there are two ways you can think about this strange, grueling, crawling race. You can think about time, emphasizing “since” and “until”, or you can think about space, emphasizing “from” and “to”.

Now, of course, we've already learned different words for “from” and “to”. So if de means “from”, and a means “to”, why do we need to use desde and hasta to mean the same thing for English speakers?

This takes some getting used to, but in general it has to do with emphasis. So you'll use de to emphasize the place that you've come “from”. You'll use a to emphasize the place that you're going “to”. And you'll use desde and hasta to emphasize the length of the journey itself, just like you'd use “since” or “until” to emphasize a length of time.

So in summary, desde and hasta mean “since” and “until”, but you can extend their meaning from a journey in time to a journey in space.

Let's look at some examples of these words.

We did it from the morning to the night.

Lo hicimos desde la mañana hasta la noche.

We went from that place to his house.

Fuimos desde ese lugar hasta su casa.

Let’s practice desde and hasta.

We knew it since that day.

Lo sabíamos desde ese día.

We went from your house to the place.

Fuimos desde tu casa hasta el lugar.

I’ve been walking since the city center.

He estado walking desde the center de the city.

He estado caminando desde el centro de la ciudad.

We know you have been here since back then.

Sabemos que has estado aquí desde ese entonces.

She’ll be here until that year.

Estará aquí hasta ese año.

We have just two more prepositions to learn. The first one is the word hacia, spelled h-a-c-i-a, and it means “toward” or “towards”. (Incidentally, this word looks a lot like some of the imperfect past-tense forms of Hacer, hacía, but this word doesn’t have an accent mark, so instead of being pronounced hacía, it’s pronounced hacia.)

Here’s an example of how you might use this word:

We are going toward that place.

Estamos yendo hacia ese lugar.

So you would use hacia when you’re emphasizing your travel and the place that you’re going “towards”, the same way that in English you’d choose the word “towards” rather than “to”.

Our last preposition is the word hace, which means something like “ago”. Check out this sentence:

He did it two years ago.

Lo hizo hace dos años.

So what we’ve done here is we’ve put the word hace before the noun dos años. As you know, that’s the rule for prepositions; they always have to go before some sort of noun. But this means that it’s a bit different from the English word “ago”, which we tend to put at the end of a sentence. That’s because in English, the word “ago” is not a preposition, it’s an adverb. Just remember that in Spanish, hace has to go before the noun for the length of time that you’re describing.

Let’s practice hacia and hace.

Three years ago we were going towards Berlin.

Hace tres años íbamos hacia Berlín.

We wouldn’t know if he was going towards the place two hours ago.

No sabríamos si iba hacia el lugar hace dos horas.

If you knew that I have been here since the morning, you wouldn’t do that.

Si supieras que he estado aquí desde la mañana, no harías eso.

OK, now to wrap up this episode, let’s learn some new possessive pronouns. Check out this sentence:

This is my house.

Esta es mi casa.

We’re using the word mi before a noun to talk about whose it is. But what if we wanted to change this to say “this house is mine”? In English, we use the word “mine” instead of “my” to replace the noun; in other words, we use “my” as an adjective (“my house”), but we use “mine” as a pronoun.

Here’s how you would say that in Spanish.

This house is mine.

Esta casa es mía.

So we’ve used the word mía, spelled m-i-a, with an accent over the I. Essentially it’s the possessive word mi, but we’ve added the letter A at the end. The masculine version of this is mío. In the sentence “this house is mine”, we’re using this feminine version because “house” is feminine; it’s based on the gender of the noun that we’re describing. Note that it’s a common mistake to use the gender of the person speaking, but whether you’re a masculine or feminine person, you’ll use mía to describe a house and mío to describe a masculine noun. For example:

This job is mine.

Este trabajo es mío.

We can even make this plural by changing it to mías or míos if we’re talking about more than one item. Let’s practice this a bit. In some cases, you’ll be expected to use the words we’ve already been practicing, mi or mis, when you see “my” before a noun. But when the word “mine” replaces a noun, you’ll use mío, mía, míos, or mías.

I found out that this house is mine.

Supe que esta casa es mía.

This restaurant(m) is mine.

Este restaurant es mío.

Este restaurante es mío.

Those things are mine.

Esas cosas son mías.

My friend doesn’t want us to know it.

Mi amigo no quiere que lo sepamos.

These(m) are mine!

¡Estos son míos!

OK, now how about this one:

This house is yours.

Esta casa es tuya.

We’ve done something very similar in changing “your” to “yours” by replacing tu with tuya. This particular word has a Y thrown in there for clarity. T-U-Y-A. Tuya.

And here’s the masculine, plural version.

These problems are yours.

Estos problemas son tuyos.

And similarly, we can change su to suyo or suya, or suyos or suyas. Here are some examples:

These problems weren’t theirs.

Estos problemas no eran suyos.

Is this house his?
¿Esta casa es suya?

Incidentally, we also know one more type of possessive pronoun, the word nuestro. But this word is used the same way when it replaces a noun; for example:

The house is ours.

La casa es nuestra.

Let’s practice our possessive pronouns.

This thing is his.

Esta cosa es suya.

The friend(f) is his.

La amiga es suya.

That way they would know that it is mine(m).

Así sabrían que es mío.

These(f) are mine, but those(f) are ours.

Estas son mías, pero esas son nuestras.

You have to know that the problems aren’t yours.

Tienes que saber que los problemas no son tuyos.

This phone(m) is yours.

Este phone es tuyo.

Este teléfono es tuyo.

To get more practice with any of today’s words, go to LCSPodcast.com/78. And now, if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

He found out there was a problem between them.

Supo que había un problema entre ellos.

They were going toward that place during the war.

Iban hacia ese lugar durante the war.

Iban hacia ese lugar durante la guerra.

I knew it wasn’t good, but I don’t want them to know.

Sabía que no era bueno, pero no quiero que lo sepan.

If they knew that that is on the table, they wouldn’t eat.

Si supieran que eso está sobre the table, no they would eat.

Si supieran que eso está sobre la mesa, no comerían.

They were without him since this morning.

Estaban sin él desde esta mañana.

If you don’t tell him, he won’t know there was an accident.

Si no se lo you tell, no sabrá que hubo an accident.

Si no se lo dices, no sabrá que hubo un accidente.

I’ve been walking since the place where we went.

He estado walking desde el lugar donde fuimos.

He estado caminando desde el lugar donde fuimos.

You will know it during the party.

Lo sabrás durante la fiesta.

He knew this wasn’t his.

Él sabía que esto no era suyo.

He wouldn’t know the truth.

No sabría la verdad.

I will know if it is mine.

Sabré si es mío.

If I knew there is something under the bed, I wouldn’t sleep.

Si supiera que hay algo bajo the bed, no I would sleep.

Si supiera que hay algo bajo la cama, no dormiría.

I want him to know that this is yours.

Quiero que él sepa que esto es tuyo.

I want to walk from France to Spain.

Quiero to walk desde France hasta Spain.

Quiero caminar desde Francia hasta España.

I’m going towards the house now.

Estoy yendo hacia la casa ahora.

There’s something above your house!

¡Hay algo sobre tu casa!

If there were more people against the company(f), it would be mine.

Si hubiera más personas contra la company, sería mía.

Si hubiera más personas contra la empresa, sería mía.

I want you to know that this isn’t his.

Quiero que sepas que esto no es suyo.

I wouldn’t know where to go.

No sabría adónde ir.

Where was he going two years ago?

¿Adónde iba hace dos años?

He knows we have been here since that day.

Sabe que hemos estado aquí desde ese día.

If he knew that, you would know it too.

Si él supiera eso, tú también lo sabrías.

They didn’t know this wasn’t yours.

No sabían que esto no era tuyo.

I have known there is something between them.

He sabido que hay algo entre ellos.

We’ll know more about the place where we were without you three weeks ago.

Sabremos más sobre el lugar donde estábamos sin ti hace tres semanas. 

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/78.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn a bunch of nouns for family members, including the words for “mother”, “father”, “brother”, “sister”, and “baby”.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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