Do you know how to use the preposition con (most commonly translated as "with") in Spanish? Let's explore some of the various ways of using this preposition correctly.
Like its English counterpart, the first use of the preposition con that most likely comes to mind is to introduce the concept of accompaniment by someone or something. We can find this use in the name of some of our series such as Aprendiendo con Carlos, Paseando con Karen, and also in the words of Ester from El Aula Azul:
Quédate con nosotros hoy
Stay with us today,
y aprende algo nuevo en nuestra clase.
and learn something new in our class.
Captions 4-5, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativoPlay Caption
The way con is used here is no different from the way we use "with" to describe accompaniment in English. However, it is worth mentioning that stranded prepositions (prepositions separated from their objects and often placed at the end of the sentence) do not occur in Spanish. Thus, a question like the one below must place the preposition con next to its object quién at the beginning of the sentence, as opposed to the manner in which "who" and "with" can be separated in informal English.
¿Y con quién vives en Alemania?
And who do you live with in Germany?
Caption 21, La rutina diaria - La mañanaPlay Caption
The preposition con can also be employed to introduce the means or tools used to do an activity or achieve something.
Hazlo primero con lápiz y después con plumón.
Do it first in pencil and then with a marker.
Caption 17, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: PikachuPlay Caption
Y os puedo asegurar que
And I can assure you that,
con paciencia y con disciplina se consigue todo.
with patience and discipline, one can achieve anything.
Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos - Mi gata BimbaPlay Caption
We also use the preposition con in Spanish to introduce the way something is done or how it should be done:
¡Por acá, Guillermina, con cuidado!
Through here, Guillermina, carefully!
Caption 30, Guillermina y Candelario - Una película de terrorPlay Caption
Notice that the word cuidado can also appear before con in phrases such as the following:
Cuidado con el perro.
Beware of the dog.
Or, as Karen warns us in her video:
Mucho cuidado con lo que escribes.
[Be] very careful with what you write.
Caption 38, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolaresPlay Caption
When the preposition con is followed by an infinitive, it can function as a gerund (the -ing form of a verb, which functions as a noun):
Con decir perdón es suficiente.
Saying you're sorry is enough.
Caption 20, Muñeca Brava - 47 EsperanzasPlay Caption
Con is also the dependent preposition (preposition that depends upon or must follow a particular noun, verb, or adjective) after certain verbs such as terminar (to put an end to something), bastar (to be enough or suffice) or comparar (to compare), to name a few.
Terminar con mi noviazgo no parecía tan complicado.
Ending my relationship didn't seem so complicated.
Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8Play Caption
Y me basta con saber que estás allí
And it's enough to know that you're there
Caption 19, Franco De Vita - Mi sueñoPlay Caption
A pesar de que lo... la cultura azteca también
Although the... the Aztec culture also
tenía su preciosismo no se compara con los Mayas...
had its beauty, it can't be compared to the Mayans...
Captions 46-47, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ilustraciónPlay Caption
Finally, the preposition con can additionally introduce a phrase that stands in contrast to the following clause, taking on a meaning similar to "although" or "despite."
Esta mujer aquí donde la ve,
This woman who stands here before you,
con lo simpática que parece, es como un general.
as nice as she seems, is like a general.
Captions 62-63, Los casos de Yabla - El perrito malcriadoPlay Caption
That's all for this lesson. We hope it has been clear for you and you can now use this preposition con más seguridad y precisión (with greater confidence and accuracy)! And, don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions!