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Quick answer
"Encima de 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 "encima de la mesa" and "sobre" below.
encima de la mesa(
ehn
-
see
-
mah
 
deh
 
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
Creí haber dejado los lentes encima de la mesa, pero no están.I thought I left my glasses on the table, but they're not there.
b. on top of the table
Gladys se subió encima de la mesa y se puso a bailar.Gladys climbed on top of the table and started dancing.
c. on the desk
Silvio tenía una foto de su esposa encima de la mesa.Silvio had a picture of his wife on the desk.
d. on top of the desk
Me gusta tener mucho espacio, así que solo quiero la computadora encima de la mesa, nada más.I like to have plenty of space so I just want the computer on top of the desk, nothing else.
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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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