Preposition Use with Verbs

Verbs and prepositions are used together in both English and Spanish, but not always in the same way.

Verbs with prepositions

There are certain Spanish verbs that require a specific preposition to be used after them. These prepositions must follow the verb form to join them to an infinitive, but they are usually not translated into English.

The following verbs are followed by a preposition and then another verb in its infinitive form (to help you remember which are stem changes, the stem change is indicated in parentheses). Note with the exceptions, however, that most of the time these verbs are followed by nouns; therefore, either another preposition is used or no preposition at all.

To use one of the verbs from the previous list in a Spanish sentence, the first verb is conjugated, and the verb after the preposition is in the infinitive form regardless of how the English equivalent is stated. In English, the second verb will often be in its infinitive form, just like Spanish. However, sometimes in English, the second verb is in its gerund form: “–ing.”

The following verbs are followed by a preposition and then a noun or pronoun:

Following are some sample sentences using the expressions from the previous list:

                     El vino se convirtió en vinagre.
                     The wine turned into vinegar.

                     La bebe goza de su botella de leche.
                     The baby enjoys her bottle of milk.

                     Raquel se marchó de la clase.
                     Raquel left the class.

Verbs with prepositions in English but not Spanish

There are expressions in English that require a verb followed by a preposition. You may think you need to provide a Spanish equivalent when you translate these expressions, but no preposition is required. For the following expressions, there is a Spanish verb that is not followed by any preposition.


Verbs after prepositions


Whenever a preposition is immediately followed by a verb, that verb will be in its infinitive form. This is not always true in English, so there will be times when it will not “sound right” to use an infinitive, but there are no exceptions to this Spanish rule: A verb must be in its infinitive form if it immediately follows a preposition.

              El joven aprende a cocinar.
              The young man learns to cook.

              Yo estoy cansada de escribir.
              I am tired of writing. 

              Es imposible tener éxito sin trabajar.
              It's impossible to have success without working.