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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

The Essential Spanish Question Words

How many question words in Spanish are you familiar with? Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Asking questions is one of the most important skills you need to master in the language you are learning. In this lesson, we will learn the most important interrogative words in Spanish. However, before we explore those words, let's discuss a couple of things about asking questions in Spanish. 

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How do you say the word 'question' in Spanish?

'Pregunta' is how you say the word 'question' in Spanish. 'Pregunta' is a feminine noun and its plural form is 'preguntas'. Let's practice the pronunciation of this term:

 

Kevin, la pregunta es:

Kevin, the question is:

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Los voy a dejar con cuatro preguntas.

I am going to leave you with four questions.

Caption 48, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

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Spanish question structure

Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Let's take a look at the basic structure of a question in Spanish.

 

Punctuation and question marks

To begin with, you need to stick to the rules of Spanish punctuation. Because of that, when you write a question in Spanish you need to remember that question marks are always double-sided. In other words, you need to start the question with an opening question mark (¿) and end it with a closing one (?):

 

¿Cómo es Japón?

What's Japan like?

¿Qué te gusta de Japón?

What do you like about Japan?

Captions 69-70, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

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Yes/No questions

Let's start with simple questions. Believe it or not, for these kinds of questions your intonation is what matters the most. You basically make Yes/No questions by transforming a statement into a question. The Spanish question structure for these kinds of questions is the following:

 

¿ + (subject) + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

A Pedro le gusta comer pizza. (Pedro likes to eat pizza.)

¿A Pedro le gusta comer pizza? (Does Pedro like to eat pizza?)

 

For negative questions, you just need to place a "no" before the conjugated verb.

 

No quieres estudiar. (You don't want to study.)

¿No quieres estudiar? (Don't you want to study?)

 

Go ahead and play the following clips so you can hear the intonation of the following Yes/No questions. Notice how the pitch of the speaker's voice gets higher at the end of the sentence when asking questions in Spanish:

 

Mmm... ¿Quieres ir al cine?

Mmm... Do you want to go to the movies?

-Sí, ¡buena idea!

-Yes, good idea!

Captions 45-46, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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¿Necesitas ayuda?

Do you need help?

-Mmm... Sí.

-Mmm... Yes.

Captions 9-10, Español para principiantes - La hora

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¿No conoces Manhattan?

You don't know Manhattan?

Caption 37, Yago - 2 El puma

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As you can see, it is very common to start Yes/No questions with a conjugated verb.

 

Questions that ask for specific information

The following is the Spanish question structure you need to keep mind when your question is aimed at getting some sort of information:

 

¿ + (preposition) + question word + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

¡Oh! ¿Dónde está el cajero automático?

Oh! Where's the ATM?

Caption 36, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

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In the example above, we have the following structure: 

¿ + question word (dónde) + conjugated verb (está) + additional information (el cajero automático) + ?

 

Let's listen to another clip:

 

¿Desde cuándo tienes este piso?

Since when have you had this apartment?

Caption 35, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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In this last example, the Spanish question structure is the following: 

¿ + preposition (desde) + question word (cuándo) + conjugated verb (tienes) + additional information (este piso) + ?

 

Now that we have seen the structure of a question, let's take a look at some Spanish question words in sentences.

 

Top Spanish question words

It's time to review the most important interrogative words in Spanish. If you are thinking about WH questions, you are right. Let's find out what the Spanish question words are for 'what', 'which', 'when', 'where', 'who', 'why' and 'how'.

 

Top question words in Spanish

For your reference, here's a list of the top question words in Spanish.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

When (Cuándo)

Where (Dónde)

Who (Quién)

Why (Por qué)

How (Cómo)

 

Now, let's see each one of these question words in action with a list of some of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask.

 

Basic questions to ask in Spanish using WH questions

And now, let's dive into our list.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

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O, ¿A qué te dedicas?

Or, What do you do? [with "tú"].

Caption 17, Karla e Isabel - Tú y Usted

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Oye, y ¿en qué trabajas?

Hey, and what do you do [for a living]?

Caption 82, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

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Por supuesto; ¿cuál es su dirección de correo?

Of course; what is your e-mail address?

Caption 69, Negocios - Empezar en un nuevo trabajo

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¿Recuerdas cuál era la copa para servir vino?

Do you remember which cup was the one for serving wine?

Caption 36, Ana Carolina - El comedor

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When (Cuándo)

 

¿Y cuándo hizo el "check-in"?

And when did he check-in?

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

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¿Cuándo terminas de estudiar?

When do you finish studying?

Caption 72, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

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Where (Dónde)

 

¿De dónde eres?

Where are you from?

Caption 36, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?

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Y ¿en dónde vives?

And where do you live?

Caption 8, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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Let's see a couple of clips from Raquel to see the kind of questions you ask when you want to find out where something is located:

 

¿Me podrías decir dónde está el baño?

Could you tell me where the bathroom is?

Caption 7, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

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¿Sabes dónde hay alguna farmacia?

Do you know where there's a pharmacy?

Caption 24, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

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Who (Quién)

We use 'who' when we want to find out someone's identity. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Mi jugador favorito juega en el Real Madrid.

My favorite player plays for Real Madrid.

¿Quién es?

Who is it?

Captions 19-20, El Aula Azul - Las Profesiones

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¿Usted quién es?

Who are you?

Roberto. Un amigo.

Roberto. A friend.

Captions 24-25, Yago - 9 Recuperación

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Why (Por qué)

 

¿Por qué dices eso? -No...

Why are you saying that? -No...

Caption 14, Cortometraje - Beta

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How (Cómo)

 

Para saludar, podemos decir: "Hola. ¿Cómo estás? ¿Todo bien?"

To greet (people), we can say: "Hello. How are you? (Is) everything good?"

Caption 7, Español en las calles - Varias expresiones

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Keep in mind that the word 'cómo' is not always translated as the English word 'how'. In fact, one of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask is a good example of that:

 

Buenos días, ¿cómo te llamas?

Good morning, what's your name?

Caption 8, La rutina diaria - La mañana

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When we want to find out someone's age or the price of an object, we combine 'how' with other words such as 'old' or 'much'. When we want to get that kind of information, we use other interrogative words in Spanish. Let's take a look:

 

Ah, lindo.

Oh, nice.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

How much does it cost?

Captions 33-34, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

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¿Cuántos años tienes?

How old are you?

Caption 6, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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Ah, vale. ¿Cuántos hijos tienes?

Oh, OK. How many sons do you have?

Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecer

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¿Y cuántas botellas de agua hay aquí?

And how many bottles of water are there here?

Caption 78, Español para principiantes - Los números del 1 al 100

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And that's it for now. We hope you use this review of the most important Spanish question words as the perfect excuse to start asking questions in Spanish. Are you ready? We encourage you to do that and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

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