In this article, we’ll elaborate on the use of Spanish pronouns after prepositions. Simply put, you are about to learn how to say “about you”, “with me”, “except him”, and all sorts of similar prepositional phrases in Spanish.
First things first. Let’s brush up on the notion of the pronoun. It is the word we use to avoid repeating the name of a person or an object in speech, when we need to refer to the same person/object repeatedly or when there is no need in using the name itself because the context makes it clear who or what we are talking about. E.g.:
- Jose – he/him
- Juanita – she/her
- Juanita and Jose – they/them
Take a look at this list of Spanish pronouns to refresh your knowledge:
Judging by their name, the pronouns listed above can only perform the function of the subject in a sentence. Take a look at a few more examples paying special attention to the changes that take place due to the presence of the grammatical gender in Spanish:
Joseph doesn’t drink much.
- Jose no bebe mucho. – Él no bebe mucho.
Joseph and John work together.
- Jose y Juan trabajan juntos. – Ellos* trabajan juntos.
*Note the masculine gender of the word ellos – Jose and Juan are both men.
Johanna and Rose work together.
- Juanita y Rosa trabajan juntos. – Ellas* trabajan juntos.
*We use the feminine subject pronoun ellas since Juanita and Rosa are both ladies.
However, if we decide to change the latter sentence a little and say that, for example,
- Joseph works together with John.
We will need to rely on a different type of pronouns to replace the name John – and these are object preposition pronouns.
Object Preposition Pronouns
Here, take a look at the Spanish subject pronouns and the corresponding object preposition pronouns:
As you can see from the table, it will not be too difficult to learn the object preposition pronouns since only the first and second person singular forms mí and ti are different from their subject form.
Whenever you need to replace the name of a person, object or phenomenon that follows a preposition with a pronoun, use object preposition pronouns from the right column and you will be as good as gold!
Let’s consider some examples:
- Jose trabaja con Juan. - Jose trabaja con él.
Joseph works together with John.
- Cocino desayuno para vosotros cada día.
I cook breakfast for you every day.
- ¿Qué opinas de ellos?
What do you think about them?
Tips, Tricks, and Exceptions
There are two details you need to remember when using [preposition + pronoun] formula:
First, the preposition con often melts together with the pronoun that follows to ensure speech economy. It is always true for the following pronouns:
- mí – conmigo (E.g.: ¡Baila conmigo! – Dance with me!)
- ti – contigo (E.g.: No quiero bailar contigo. – I don’t want to dance with you.)
For él/ella, usted and ellos/ellas, ustedes forms, there are two cases:
- If the object preposition pronoun is related to the subject, the melting process turns the con+object preposition pronoun into the word consigo. E.g.:
She always has an apple with her.
Ella siempre lleva una manzana consigo.
- If the object preposition pronoun has nothing in common with the subject of the sentence, it is used in its full form. E.g.:
She doesn’t want to work with him.
Ella no quiere trabajar con él.
Prepositions Followed by Subject Pronouns
Not every preposition should be followed by an object preposition pronoun. There are certain prepositions that should be combined with subject pronouns, and you can see all six of them in this table below:
You may be wondering why there are three words for the single English preposition except. Well, they are interchangeable, plus they have separate counterparts in English, too:
- for excepto, it is obviously except,
- for menos, it is minus,
- and for salvo, it is save,
all of which basically are used to express the same meaning of exclusion.
If you need some examples of the prepositions followed by subject pronouns, here they are:
- No hay malentendido entre tú y yo. – There is no misunderstanding between you and me.
- Todos tienen que comer verduras, incluso yo. – Everyone has to eat vegetables, including me.
- Según tú, él no es un buen conversador. – According to you, he isn’t a good conversationalist.
- Todos van a trabajar el sábado, excepto/menos/salvo yo. – Everyone is going to work on Saturday, except me.
And now, let’s check what you have memorized!