Gramática: El verbo estar + preposiciones / ¿Dónde?


  • Recognize the correct conjugations of the verb estar
  • Use the prepositions of location to describe where things and people are located in a house


You have already learned the verb ser, and you’ve used it to: introduce yourself and others, to describe physical characteristics and personality traits, to indicate place of origin or nationality, to tell time, and to give dates. Spanish has another verb that also means “to be” – estar.  You used estar at the beginning of this course to indicate how you are feeling (¿Cómo estás? Estoy bien, gracias). In addition to indicating how you and others are feeling (which we’ll discuss in a future chapter), estar is used to express location. So, if you are talking about where a person or a thing is located, you will use estar:

estar (to be)
singular plural
1a Play Audioyo estoy Play Audionosotros estamos
2a Play Audioestás Play Audiovosotros estáis
3a Play Audioél ella usted está Play Audioellos ellas ustedes están

As you should notice, estar has an irregular yo form along with accented endings in all but the nosotros form.

Estar y la localización

To use estar to express the locations of people and things, you’ll need to know some prepositions of location as well:

  • Play Audioalrededor (around)
  • Play Audioal lado de (beside, next to)
  • Play Audioenfrente de (in front of)
  • Play Audioa la derecha de (to the right of)
  • Play Audioa la izquierda de (to the left of)
  • Play Audiodebajo de (under)
  • Play Audioen (on, in)
  • Play Audioencima de (on, above)
  • Play Audiodetrás de (behind)
  • Play Audiocerca de (close to)
  • Play Audiolejos de (far from)
a small map
  • Play AudioAlegría está en su dormitorio. (Alegría is in her bedroom.)
  • Play Audio¿Dónde está tu restaurante favorito? (Where is your favorite restaurant?)
  • Play AudioLos padres de Benjamín están de vacaciones en Cancún. (Ben’s parents are in Cancún on vacation.)
  • Play AudioAy de mí, ¿dónde están mis llaves? (Good grief, where are my keys?)
  • Play AudioLa cafetería está enfrente de la librería. (The cafeteria is in front of the bookstore.)
  • Play AudioNo estoy en clase ahora porque estoy enfermo. (I’m not in class right now because I’m sick.)
  • Play AudioNosotros estamos cerca del museo pero no podemos encontrarlo. (We’re close to the museum, but we can’t find it.)


The question word used to ask about locations is ¿Dónde? (where?). It can be combined with prepositions to ask more specific questions, for example: ¿De dónde? (from where?) and ¿Adónde? (to where?). Remember that question words always need an accent mark, and don’t forget to put the upside-down question mark at the beginning of the question with the upside-right question mark at the end of the question.

  • ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
  • Soy de Oneonta, Nueva York. (I am from Oneonta, New York.)
  • Ah, y ¿dónde está Oneonta? (Ah, and where is Oneonta?)
  • Oneonta está en las montañas; no está cerca de la ciudad de Nueva York. (Oneonta is in the mountains; it’s not close to New York City.)


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