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The Preposition con in Spanish

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.

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Con to Describe Accompaniment

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 indicativo

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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 mañana

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Con Used to Indicate the Means or Tools Used to Do Something

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: Pikachu

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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 Bimba

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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 terror

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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 escolares

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Using Con with Verbs

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 Esperanzas

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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 8

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Y me basta con saber que estás allí

And it's enough to know that you're there

Caption 19, Franco De Vita - Mi sueño

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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 - ilustración

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Creating Contrast

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 malcriado

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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

Some Unique Words and Expressions

Let's review some unique Spanish words that you may not have heard of before. 

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Spanish uses a specific word to describe the rheum (more commonly known as "sleep" in English) found in the corner of the eye after sleeping: lagaña (also legaña). This odd word has an uncertain origin, though some experts believe it to be inherited from a Paleohispanic language! It's important to note that lagaña is not a specialized term as "rheum" is in English, but a common word used in everyday conversations:

 

Esto es que una... una de las glándulas que se encarga de fabricar la lagaña...

This is because one... one of the glands that is in charge of producing rheum...

Caption 79, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki

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Other unique Spanish words related to the body are entrecejo (the space between the eyebrows).
 

Y esta parte se llama entrecejo.

And this part is called "entrecejo" [the space between the eyebrows].

Caption 16, Marta de Madrid - El cuerpo - La cabeza

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and chapas (blush, the pink tinge on the cheeks):
 

...para obtener las clásicas chapitas de Pikachu.

...to get the classic Pikachu rosy cheeks.

Caption 25, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Pikachu

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Do you know any Spanish words or expressions used to describe different types of rain? The expressions está chispeando and está lloviznando both mean "it's drizzling." The verb chispear comes from the noun chispa (spark), while the verb lloviznar comes from the noun llovizna (drizzle)On the other end, when the rain is really heavy, people may use the noun tormenta (storm) to describe it, though aguacero (downpour) is also very common:
 

Aguacero de mayo, me lleva, papá

May downpour, it's taking me away, man

Caption 44, Kikirikí - Animales

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Of course, people also use idiomatic expressions to talk about the rain. One example is llueve a cántaros (the equivalent of "it's raining cats and dogs," literally "it's raining as if pitchers were being poured from the sky"). Other words that you may want to explore on your own are: chubasco (a very intense, windy storm) and chaparrón (an intense, sudden, and short storm).
 
Another interesting set of unique Spanish words is the group used to talk about family in-laws, a list that is quite big, as you can imagine. It's not only suegro, suegra (father- and mother-in-law), but also yerno, nuera (son- and daughter-in-law), cuñado, cuñada (brother- or sister-in-law), and even concuño, concuña (brother, husband, sister, or wife of one's brother-in-law or sister-in-law)!

 

Es una champiñonera tradicional que estableció mi suegro.

It's a traditional mushroom farm that my father-in-law established.

Caption 6, La Champiñonera - El cultivo de champiñón

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Estaba en la casa de mi suegra y mi cuñada,

I was in my mother-in-law's house, and my sister-in-law,

la hermana de mi marido...

my husband's sister...

Caption 52, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro

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Interesting tidbit: The equivalent of "in-law family" in Spanish is familia política. You can use the adjective político (political) to describe less close relatives such as primo político (in-law cousin).

 

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