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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 y aprende algo nuevo en nuestra clase.

Stay with us today, and learn something new in our class.

Captions 4-5, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

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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 con paciencia y con disciplina se consigue todo.

and I can assure you that, 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 - Part 2

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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 - Part 1

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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 - Part 5

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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 - Part 5

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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 tenía su preciosismo no se compara con los Mayas...

Although the... the Aztec culture also had its beauty, it can't be compared to the Mayans...

Captions 46-47, Antonio Vargas - Artista ilustración - Part 2

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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, con lo simpática que parece, es como un general.

This woman who stands here before you, as nice as she seems, is like a general.

Captions 62-63, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 1

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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

Spanish Punctuation: 8 Simple Rules for Writing Better

Spanish punctuation may seem difficult if you are just learning the language. However, if you keep in mind the following rules, you will definitely improve your writing and the use of punctuation in Spanish.

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1. Learn the names of the basic punctuation signs in Spanish

 

  1. Punto (Period)
  2. Coma (Comma)
  3. Punto y coma (Semicolon)
  4. Dos puntos (Colon)
  5. Comillas (Quotation marks)
  6. Signo de interrogación (Question mark)
  7. Signo de exclamación (Exclamation point)
  8. Paréntesis (Parentheses)
  9. Corchetes (Square brackets)

 

2. Remember that question marks and exclamation points are always double-sided

In Spanish, you always need to use opening and closing punctuation. Keep this in mind especially for question marks and exclamation points.

 

a. Question marks ¿?

 

¿Qué más cosas hay en el sueño?

What other things are there in the dream?

Caption 15, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Hay y estar

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b. Exclamation points ¡!

 

¡Todo el mundo paga para que lo escuchen!

Everyone pays for them to listen to you!

Caption 45, Yago - 14 La peruana

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c. Parentheses () 

 

d. Square brackets []

 

D.A.S. [Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad].

A.D.S [Administrative Department of Security].

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4 - Part 10

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e. Quotation marks " "

 

3. Never put a period after a question mark or an exclamation point

After a question mark or exclamation point, you can put any punctuation mark except a period.

 

4. Use capital letters after a closing punctuation mark that's at the end of a statement

 

¡Acompáñame! Este recorrido inicia en la Calle Doctor Coss.

Join me! This tour begins at Doctor Coss Street.

Captions 5-6, Paseando con Karen - Canal Santa Lucía

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5. Avoid punctuation marks before an opening parenthesis

Don't put a comma or semicolon before an opening parenthesis. However, feel free to put those marks after the closing parenthesis.

 

6. Put a period after a closing quotation mark

If you want to put a period at the end of a sentence that is between quotations marks, you need to put the period after the closing quotation mark.

 

La cita de hoy es de Aldous Huxley y dice así:

Today's quote is by Aldous Huxley and goes like this:

"Todos los hombres son dioses para su perro".

"To his dog, every man is Napoleon" [literally "To their dog, all men are gods].

Captions 8-10, Los casos de Yabla - El perrito malcriado

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7. Use lower case after a colon

Unless you are quoting something (as in the example we mentioned for rule 6) or writing a particular document (e.g. a letter), you always need to use lower case after a colon.

 

Luego tendrá usted que rellenar un formulario

Then you will have to fill out a form

con las siguientes cuestiones: país de recogida, ciudad de recogida.

with the following questions: country of pickup, city of pickup.

Captions 14-16, Raquel - Alquiler de coche

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8. Use lower case if there is a comma or semicolon before an opening question mark or exclamation point

 

Sí, Zárate, ¿qué pasó?

Yes, Zarate, what happened?

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4 - Part 12

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There are many more rules regarding punctuation in Spanish. However, we invite you to keep in mind the rules we just mentioned here because that way you'll certainly improve your writing in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Si no vs. Sino

Si no or sino? That is the question of today's lesson. Do you know when to write one or the other? Both expressions seem very similar but they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Although even native speakers make mistakes when writing these words, the truth is they are used in specific cases that are easily recognizable. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz: 

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Which one would you use in the following sentence?:

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; ____ ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

 

What about in this one?:

No solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, ____ varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá.

It doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota.

 

We will unveil the answers at the end of this lesson. Now, let's dive into the difference between si no and sino.

 

What is the English equivalent of si no?

Si no is made of two parts. The conditinal conjunction 'si' and the negation 'no'. We use si no to introduce a negative conditional sentence. In particular, we use si no when it works as "otherwise" to imply the idea of "on the contrary". Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Porque todos son amantes de los animales, si no, no vendrían a vernos.

Because they are all animal lovers, otherwise, they wouldn't come to see us.

Captions 45-46, Santuario para burros - Voluntarios

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¿Grabó esto sin su permiso?

Did you record this without her permission?

Claro que sí. Si no, no la habría descubierto.

Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn't have discovered it.

Captions 52-54, Los casos de Yabla - El perrito malcriado

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What does the word sino mean in English?

In Spanish, the word sino is a conjunction that usually works as the English equivalent "but" or "but rather". Generally speaking, we use it to create a contrast between and affirmative statement that is placed right after a negative one. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh...

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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Por esta razón, no decimos "uno libro", sino "un libro".

For this reason, we don't say "uno libro," but rather "un libro" ["a book"].

Caption 39, Carlos explica - Los Números: Números Cardinales

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Sometimes, we also use sino when we want to state an exception:

Nadie lo sabe sino tu padre.

Nobody except your father knows it.

 

And finally, we use sino when we want to add more elements to a single statement, usually with the formula 'no solo... sino también' (not only... but also):

 

Unas de las bandas más importantes de Latinoamérica,

One the most important bands in Latin America,

este... no sólo por su trabajo musical,

um... not only because of their musical work,

sino también por su trabajo social y activismo ambiental.

but also because of their social work and environmental activism.

Captions 10-12, Doctor Krápula - Entrevista

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Let's solve the questions

Considering all of the above, it is time to solve the questions we posed at the beginning of this lesson. Let's unveil the answers:

 

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; si no ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4

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No solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, sino varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá.

It doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota.

Captions 57-58, Bogotá - Chorro de Quevedo

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand when to write sino and si no. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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