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Quick answer
"En la mesa" is a phrase which is often translated as "on the table", and "sobre" is a preposition which is often translated as "on". Learn more about the difference between "en la mesa" and "sobre" below.
en la mesa(
ehn
 
lah
 
meh
-
sah
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. on the table
Mila dejó las llaves en la mesa y fue corriendo al baño.Mila left the keys on the table and hurried to the bathroom.
b. at the table
En la mesa habría unos diez comensales.There were about ten guests at the table.
c. on the desk
Gloria dejó el portátill en la mesa.Gloria left the laptop on the desk.
d. at the desk
Juan no está en la mesa ahora mismo. ¿Quiere dejarle algún recado?Juan's not at the desk right now. Would you like to leave a message?
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sobre(
soh
-
breh
)
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (atop)
a. on
¡No pongas los pies sobre la mesa!Don't put your feet on the table!
2. (relating to)
a. about
La conferencia es sobre la tecnología.The conference is about technology.
3. (above)
a. over
El pájaro se alzó y voló sobre nuestras cabezas.The bird rose and flew over our heads.
4. (approximately)
a. about
Siguiendo la receta, debería tardar en cocinarse sobre ocho minutos.Following the recipe, it should take about eight minutes to cook.
b. around
Mi clase tiene sobre 15 o 20 alumnos.My class has around 15 or 20 students.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
5. (cover)
a. envelope
Abrió rápidamente el sobre y sacó la carta de su interior.He tore open the envelope and pulled out the letter inside.
6.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(bed)
Regionalism used in Argentina
(Argentina)
a. sack
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
En cuanto llegué, me metí en el sobre.As soon as I arrived, I hit the sack.
7. (handbag)
Regionalism used in Cuba
(Cuba)
(River Plate)
a. clutch bag
Necesito un sobre que combine con mis zapatos plateados.I need a clutch bag to match my silver shoes.
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