Home Language Learning 20 Prefixes in Spanish That’ll Assist You Perceive Tons of of New Spanish Phrases

20 Prefixes in Spanish That’ll Assist You Perceive Tons of of New Spanish Phrases

20 Prefixes in Spanish That’ll Assist You Perceive Tons of of New Spanish Phrases


A cup of tea sitting on top of an open notebook that contains many Spanish words

Studying and memorizing Spanish verb conjugations could be a drag.

Alternatively, with out realizing the right conjugations—and particularly these tough irregular verbs—speaking in Spanish is mainly unattainable. 

Fortunately, there’s a bit of trick that will increase your vocabulary information whereas chopping your memorization time in half: prefixes.

Learn on to familiarize your self with 20 of the commonest Spanish prefixes.


What are Prefixes?

Prefixes are teams of letters added to the start of a phrase to change, change or qualify its that means. They supply context or point out a selected attribute of the bottom phrase. For instance (in English) the prefix within the phrase “sad,” “un-” signifies negation, making the phrase imply “not pleased.”

Widespread prefixes in Spanish embody dis– (not), pre– (earlier than) and con– (with). They’re important in forming new phrases from current phrases.

Why Give attention to Prefixes in Spanish?

There’s a purpose why your grade college language arts trainer spent a lot time ensuring you understood prefixes. They’re extremely helpful! Prefixes may be nice for serving to you determine the meanings of unfamiliar phrases, each in English and in Spanish.

Take, for instance, a Spanish phrase like componer (to place collectively, to compose). You won’t know what this phrase means at first look. But when you already know the widespread verb poner (to place), and also you additionally know that the prefix com means “with” or “collectively,” it gained’t be exhausting to determine that componer has to do with placing issues collectively. Studying the Spanish prefixes will provide help to one million occasions over when studying and listening to Spanish.

This text focuses on verbs as a result of prefixes are particularly helpful on the subject of verbs. One of the troublesome issues about Spanish for a non-native speaker is attempting to maintain all of these completely different verb conjugations straight.

It doesn’t assist that lots of the most typical Spanish verbs are stem-changing or simply flat-out irregular! Prefixes are nice as a result of they don’t change the conjugation of the verb, however can utterly alter its that means. So, when you be taught the tough irregular conjugations of the verb decir (to say), you may reap the benefits of prefixes to be taught phrases like contradecir (to contradict), maldecir (to curse), bendecir (to bless), predecir (to foretell) and lots of others.

In the event you’re discovering these helpful, the pure subsequent step is to department out to suffixes. Whereas we gained’t cowl that on this publish—prefixes solely, child—there’s really a whole Spanish follow guide about constructing vocabulary with suffixes within the respected Observe Makes Excellent sequence

Important Spanish Prefixes to Know

1. Mal- (dangerous)

You possibly can put the prefix mal in the beginning of assorted verbs with the intention to specific that the motion is being completed poorly, and even that the motion itself is morally dangerous. For instance, the phrase malgastar (to waste) comes from mal (dangerous) and gastar (spend). To spend one thing badly is to waste.


2. Ben- (good)

That means: good

The other of mal is ben. This one’s not exhausting to recollect as a result of it seems and sounds so just like the Spanish phrases bien (properly) and bueno (good), two fundamental Spanish phrases!


3. Des- (un-)

That means: un-

Just like the English prefix un-, des implies the motion of undoing one thing, both in a literal or a metaphorical sense. Take, for instance, the verb descubrir (to find). Like in English, it comes from the prefix des plus the verb cubrir (to cowl), expressing a metaphorical uncovering of one thing.

Be careful—the phrase “uncover,” referring to the literal act of uncovering one thing, has a unique Spanish translation: destapar.


4. Dis- (not)

That means: not

Just like des in sound however not equal in that means, the pronoun dis helps to precise opposites or the idea of not doing one thing.


5. Pre- (earlier than)

That means: earlier than

Just like the phrase prefijo (prefix), this specific prefix refers to issues that come earlier than. It’s fairly just like its English equal prefix “pre,” as seen in phrases like “put together” or “stop.”

As in English, we will perceive the “earlier than” temporally or spatially. For instance, the Spanish phrase presentar (current), may be understood as “to place one thing earlier than another person” figuratively.


6. Con- (with, collectively)

That means: with, collectively

The Spanish phrase con by itself means “with,” so it shouldn’t be stunning that the prefix con is used for verbs which have one thing to do with placing issues collectively or issues working collectively. Nonetheless, ensure you don’t combine it up with verbs that really begin with the prefix contra, which implies “in opposition to”—nearly the precise reverse!


7. Com- (with, collectively)

That means: with, collectively

Just like con, com can be used to speak about issues going collectively or working collectively.


8. Co- (with, collectively)

That means: with, collectively

This third and ultimate prefix used to imply “with” or “collectively” can be represented in a lot of helpful Spanish verbs, lots of that are cognates with their English equivalents.


9. Ex- (out of)

That means: out of

Ex is one other prefix that’s fairly just like its English equal. Consider phrases like extract and expose. In the event you see the prefix ex in the beginning of a phrase, you may guess that the verb in query has one thing to do with pulling one thing out of one thing else or eradicating one thing.


10. Inter- (inside, amongst, between)

That means: inside, amongst, between

In the event you’re studying a second language, maybe you’re already interested in being an internationwide citizen. Verbs that start with this prefix should do with actions that contain putting oneself inside, amongst or between different issues.


11. Re- (once more)

That means: once more

In the event you’ve ever studied the renacimiento (Renaissance) or the Spanish reconquista (re-conquest), then you definately’re already conversant in this prefix, which implies “once more.”


12. Sobre- (over)

That means: over

The phrase sobre has many various meanings in Spanish—relying on context, it may possibly imply “roughly,” “round” or “envelope.” However as a preposition, it incessantly means “over” or “above,” and that’s additionally what it means as a prefix.


13. Sub- (underneath)

That means: underneath

Sub is the other of sobre. Similar to the English prefix sub, the Spanish equal offers with issues which can be underneath. See Spanish phrases like subterráneo (underground) and subtítulos (subtitles).


14. Contra- (in opposition to)

That means: in opposition to

In Spanish, En contra means “in opposition to” or “in disagreement” so it’s not stunning that contra as a prefix means “in opposition to.” Its English equivalents are usually “contra” or “counter.”


15. Uni- (one, complete)

Similar to in English, the Spanish prefix uni means “one” or “complete.” (Suppose: universe, unilateral, united…)


16. Equi- (equal)

That means: equal

Consider English phrases like equal, equidistant and even equal, and also you gained’t overlook the that means of the Spanish prefix equi. Use it in verbs that take care of making issues equal or related.


17. Trans- (throughout, past)

In Spanish, trans- usually signifies motion or change from one state to a different.

For instance, transmitir means to transmit, transformar means to remodel and transporte refers to transportation. The prefix trans- is used to convey the concept of crossing or going past a specific state or location. It’s generally utilized in phrases associated to transportation, communication and alter.


18. Poli- (many, a lot)

The Spanish prefix “poli” comes from the Greek phrase “polys,” which implies “many” or “a lot.”

In Spanish, it usually conveys the concept of getting many or a lot of one thing.

For instance, polifacético means versatile or multifaceted and política pertains to politics (the affairs of the state or group). The prefix poli- is used to point abundance, selection or complexity.


19. Bi- (two, double)

The Spanish prefix “bi” is derived from the Latin phrase “bi,” which implies “two” or “double.”

In Spanish, it usually signifies a duality or having two of one thing. For instance, bilingüe means bilingual and bipolar refers to bipolar dysfunction. Bi- is used to indicate a twin or twofold nature of issues.


20. Tremendous- (above, past)

In Spanish, super- usually conveys the concept of being above or past one thing by way of high quality, amount or diploma.

For instance, superior means superior or increased and supernatural refers back to the supernatural (past the legal guidelines of nature). Tremendous- is used to point the next stage or diploma of one thing.



This listing of prefixes is simply the tip of the iceberg. However since these are among the extra widespread prefixes in Spanish, they make an important place to begin.

To assessment what you’ve discovered right here (or dive deeper into the subject), eat Spanish-language content material wherever you’ll find it—corresponding to books, subtitled motion pictures and TV reveals—and take notes once you see prefixes. 

Keep in mind that though this text targeted on verbs, these prefixes are equally priceless for modifying nouns, adjectives and adverbs! Prefixes are an important fast and simple strategy to enrich your Spanish vocabulary.

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