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Vivir en vs. Vivir a

Many Yabla users have been wondering about the difference between 'vivir en' and 'vivir a' when you are talking about a particular place. In this lesson, we will explain how to properly use the verb vivir (to live) with either of these two prepositions. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Put the missing preposition(s) in the following sentence:


Porque si te cansas de vivir ___ Cádiz, te puedes ir a vivir ___ Málaga.

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz, you can go to live in Malaga.


Would you use the preposition a or the preposition en? Or both? Let's find out the answer.



When to use vivir + en

We use 'vivir en' when we want to indicate a place. Let's see some examples:


Hice mis amigos, tengo mi novia

I made friends, I have my girlfriend,

y me encanta vivir en Miami.

and I love to live in Miami.

Captions 35-36, Fiesta en Miami - Antonio

 Play Caption


Siempre he tenido mi idea de vivir en Alemania.

I have always wanted to live in Germany.

Caption 82, Gonzalo el Pintor - Vida

 Play Caption


When to use vivir + a

We use 'vivir a' when we want to indicate that someone is moving towards a place: a destination. Because of that, 'vivir a' is preceded by verbs that indicate movement such as ir (to go) or venir (to come). In fact, the preposition 'a' before the destination is required by the verb that indicates movement and not by the verb vivir (to live). Let's take a look:


Me voy a ir a vivir a Barcelona.

I'm going to go live in Barcelona.

Caption 23, Arume - Málaga, España

 Play Caption


¿Viene a vivir a Buenos Aires?

She's coming to live in Buenos Aires?

Caption 38, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

 Play Caption


Combining 'vivir en' and 'vivir a'

Now that we understand the difference, it is time to solve our quiz:


Porque si te cansas de vivir en Cádiz,

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz,

te puedes ir a vivir a Málaga.

you can go to live in Malaga.

Captions 10-11, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption


That's it for now. We hope you like this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.


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