HomeQ&ASobre vs en

Sobre vs en

2
votes

Hi,

in the lesson 1.9 I heard the expression "La lámpara está en la mesa" which means that "the lamp is on the table". However to me it sounds more like "the lamp is in/inside the table". Wouldn't it be more correct to say that "La lámpara está sobre la mesa"?

What is the most common way of saying things like that?

Thanks

14377 views
updated SEP 24, 2017
posted by int33h

6 Answers

1
vote

"the lamp is on the table". However to me it sounds more like "the lamp is in/inside the table".

How often are lamps inside tables in English? Mmmm...

Wouldn't it be more correct to say that "La lámpara está sobre la mesa"?

If you are afraid of lamps that grow inside tables, no doubt, but otherwise, "en" is the preferred option in Spanish.

updated SEP 24, 2017
posted by lazarus1907
What I meant to say was that in all the expressions I heard so far where the "en" preposition was used it had the meaning of in/inside. This is why hearing the expression "en la mesa" was like hearing "inside the table". - int33h, AGO 18, 2009
Of course in English and all other languages I guess, the lamps cannot be inside tables - int33h, AGO 18, 2009
1
vote

I think sobre is used more as over something rather than on it for example. Hay un mantel azul sobre la mesa= there is a blue table cloth on the table. Of course sobre can also be used as approximation for example Quedamos sobre las siete mañana por la tarde, we will meet about seven tommorrow evening. Ken.

updated SEP 24, 2017
posted by kenwilliams
1
vote

Thanks for your answers. From now on I will be more accurate with Spanish prepositions smile

But still, is saying "en la mesa" more common than "sobre la mesa"?

updated SEP 24, 2017
posted by int33h
oops, didn't read carefully the first answer - int33h, AGO 17, 2009
1
vote

¡Hola! I agree with Heidita that en can mean many things, though I usually think of is as on and not in or inside. Even though to English speakers this might sound a little funny, having a preposition that can mean in, on, and many other things combined, you just have to accept that Spanish is different. Also, thanks for giving my a giggle for picturing a lamp inside of a table. smile

updated SEP 24, 2017
edited by Theet
posted by Theet
1
vote

HI int, welcome to this friendly site. grin

En is a very frequently used preposition in Spanish and can mean almost anything, I'm afraid. confused

One of the most frequent uses however is "on", being this some kind of surface (wall, table, dress)

Have a look at this reference article by Paralee on prepositions.

In Spain we seldom use sobre meaning on.

updated AGO 17, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

Hi int33h said

Thanks for your answers. From now on I will be more accurate with Spanish prepositions smile. But still, is saying "en la mesa" more common than "sobre la mesa"?

Yes. Also just accept that "en" can be on or in. The context will normally dictate which.

El libro está en la mesa. La mesa está en el salón.

The book is in the table? The table is on the sitting room?

I think not. It is obviously the other way round.

The book is on the table. The table is in the sitting room.

updated AGO 17, 2009
edited by Eddy
posted by Eddy
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