Welcome to another week of learning Spanish with me, and I hope you are finding my articles interesting and useful in your quest to become a great speaker and reader of the language. During the last few weeks we have been looking at prepositions and this week is no exception. We are still looking at prepositions but this time we will be looking at idioms containing prepositions and you can see how they can change meaning in an idiom as opposed to in a general statement. Just to be sure that you know what an idiom is; it is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of the words used, such as ´hang one´s head´.
We are going to start with the preposition por which we know normally means for but of course in idioms they can mean pretty much anything, so here are some idioms using por: ¡por supuesto! – of course!, ¿por qué? – why? For what reason?, día por día – day by day, estar por – to be in the mood to, palabra por palabra – word for word, por adelantado – in advance, por ahora – for now, por allí – around there, that way, por amor de Dios – for the love of God, por aquí – around here, this way, por casualidad – by chance, por ciento – percent, por cierto – certainly, por completo – completely, por correo – by mail/post, por dentro – inside, por desgracia – unfortunately, por Dios – for heaven´s sake, por ejemplo – for example, por eso – therefore, that´s why, por favor – please, por fin – finally, por la mañana/tarde – in the morning/afternoon, por la noche – at night, por las buenas o por las malas – whether you like it or not, por lo común – usually, por lo demás – furthermore, por lo general – generally, in general, por lo menos at least, por lo mismo – for that very reason, por lo que a mí me toca – as far as I´m concerned, por lo tanto – therefore, por lo visto – apparently, por medio de – by means of, por mi parte – for my part, por motivo de – on account of, por ningún lado – nowhere, por orden – in order, por otra parte – on the other hand, por poco – almost, por primera/última vez – for the first/last time, por seperado – separately, por si acaso – just in case, por su propio mano – by own´s own hand, por suerte – fortunately, luckily, por teléfono – on the phone, by phone, por todas partes – everywhere, por todos lados – on all sides, por ultimo – finally, por un lado, por otro – on one hand, on the other hand, una vez por todas – once and for all.
Here are a few more idioms using prepositions, if you want to sound more like a native you need to be aware of these expressions, so get practising whenever you can.
En vez de – instead of, en lugar de – in place of/ instead of, en punto – sharp/on the dot, sobre todo – above all, a pesar de – in spite of, para siempre – forever, para nada – no way (not for anything), con cariño – affectionately, caringly, con cuidado cautiously, con gusto – with pleasure, de mal en peor – from bad to worse, sin embargo – nevertheless.
As you can see there are many idioms using prepositions, some are more logical than others but all have to be learnt word for word to avoid confusion. What is the easiest way to do this? There are several options open to you, it all depends where you spend most of your time or where you are when you have free time. For example if you spend time in your car waiting then you could copy this article and put it in your car, so when you get a few minutes free you can have a glance at it and maybe memorise one or two. Another option could be this: each day write down one or two expressions and put them in your purse, every time you pay for something you are reminded of the word and if you stop for a coffee or lunch you can take it out and have a look, one or two a day and you will soon be building up your vocabulary. You could even try to work the word into your conversation in your local Spanish shop or café. I hope you spend time practising these expressions and I´ll see you next week with some more fun with Spanish.