HomeQ&AWhy do spanish speakers have problems with the prepositions in, at, & on?

Why do spanish speakers have problems with the prepositions in, at, & on?

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Why do spanish speakers have problems with the prepositions In, at, & on? What are some ideas you can use to help them distinguish the differences'

10652 views
updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by Shan

10 Answers

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This page has helped me to understand it better:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/eslprep2.html

updated ENE 14, 2011
posted by 00e657d4
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Some of the deservedly poor press that prepositions in English get is surely due to the fact that the rest of our grammar is relatively simple. Case, number and gender are only fully expressed in our pronouns. Our verbs are almost without uninflection. Our adjectives do not need to agree in number/gender with their governing nouns. We've almost managed to eliminate the subjunctive. What's left to complain about? Prepositions. (Well, our spelling, of course, but that's not a grammar problem.)

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by samdie
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Natasha said:

But se in Spanish is worse tongue laugh


"Dijo la sartén a la caldera:"

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by samdie
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Natasha said:

Those are adverbs, not prepositions. (if anyone cares)

Sorry, I meant to say adverbs and prepositions, because you have phrasal verbs with both of them.

Natasha said:

But se in Spanish is worse tongue laugh

Many Spanish verbs can potentially get ONE 'se' with a meaning that cannot be easily deduced, but each English verb can potentially take many adverbs and prepositions that change the meaning in a way that cannot be easily deduced, so in English is worse. :p

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Those are adverbs, not prepositions. (if anyone cares)

But se in Spanish is worse tongue laugh

lazarus1907 said:

Natasha said:

Spanish language learners have tons of problems with using prepositions correctly in Spanish . . . at least I do!

Have I mentioned one of the worst nightmares for people learning English? Phrasal verbs, like "give on", "give up", "give away",... i.e. adding prepositions to verbs.

>

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Guillermo said:

This page has helped me to understand it better: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/eslprep2.html

I already knew all the rules, but it is a nice page indeed, and I can think of many people I know who'll love it. The pictures are particularly useful. Nice one!

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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She is in bed sleeping.
My child is on the bed jumping.
The doctor is at the bed talking to the patient.

Not logical . . . but if you mess them up, you're going to either say something different than you intended, or come up with nonsense.

lazarus1907 said:

Because they are constantly used in a rather random way, like in Spanish and other languages, plus the fact that in Spanish all of them translate as "en" most of the time. Is like "Why do English speakers have problems with Ser & Estar'". It is because they both translate as "to be".

An example:

a) In the university

b) On the university

c) At the university

a) En la universidad

You could think: "Well, I am on top of the ground of the university, so I could say "on"". But you could also think "I am inside the building, so I should also say "in". And also, "I could be pointing at the exact location within the university, so I could choose at". In Spanish it is simply "en la universidad". Now, should you say "soy casado" or "estoy casado"?

a) in bed

b) on bed

c) at bed

Could you tell me which one is the right option, and why are the other two wrong?

>

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Natasha said:

Spanish language learners have tons of problems with using prepositions correctly in Spanish . . . at least I do!

I still have occasional doubts with "in", "at", "on" after God knows how many years using English, so there you go.

Have I mentioned one of the worst nightmares for people learning English? Phrasal verbs, like "give on", "give up", "give away",... i.e. adding prepositions to verbs.

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Why do we say:

I am at school.
I am in school. (means something different)
I am in Missouri.

but you cannot say: I am at Missouri.

Spanish language learners have tons of problems with using prepositions correctly in Spanish . . . at least I do!

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

Because they are constantly used in a rather random way, like in Spanish and other languages, plus the fact that in Spanish all of them translate as "en" most of the time. Is like "Why do English speakers have problems with Ser & Estar'". It is because they both translate as "to be".

An example:

a) In the university
b) On the university
c) At the university

a) En la universidad

You could think: "Well, I am on top of the ground of the university, so I could say "on"". But you could also think "I am inside the building, so I should also say "in". And also, "I could be pointing at the exact location within the university, so I could choose at". In Spanish it is simply "en la universidad". Now, should you say "soy casado" or "estoy casado"?

a) in bed
b) on bed
c) at bed

Could you tell me which one is the right option, and why are the other two wrong'

updated OCT 29, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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