Spanish “DE… A…” – How to Express Starting and Ending Point

An arrow pointing right, with the preposition "de" at the starting point and "a" at the ending point

Welcome to our grammar lesson on how to use Spanish prepositions “de” and “a” to talk about starting and ending points.

Prepositions “de” and “a” are frequently used to express starting points and endings points, when talking about space or about time periods:

  • “de…” introduces the starting point. It means “from…”.
  • “a…” introduces the ending point. It means “to…”.

In this lesson, we will read example sentences that include the Spanish formula “de… a…”, both about space and about time periods.

“De… a…” about space

When talking about space, movement or trajectory, for example when we talk about traveling, “de…” introduces the starting point and “a…” introduces the ending point or destination.

Of course, we need to pay attention to the possibility of contractions “del” and “al”:

Viajo de Madrid a Barcelona.
I travel from Madrid to Barcelona.

Has movido la mesa del salón al dormitorio.
You have moved the table from the living room to the bedroom.

Ellos conducen de su casa al supermercado.
They drive from their home to the supermarket.

“De… a…” about a time period

When talking about a lapse or period of time, “de…” introduces the starting point and “a…” the ending point:

La Segunda Guerra Mundial fue de 1939 a 1945.
World War II was from 1939 to 1945.

Tengo vacaciones de julio a septiembre.
I have holidays from July to September.

Hours, as well as days of the week, don’t need their usual articles when using the “de… a…” formula:

Estoy en la oficina de nueve a cuatro.
I am in the office from nine to four.

Tú tienes clases de lunes a viernes.
You have classes from Monday to Friday.

However, days of the month maintain their articles, and that produces contractions “del” and “al” :

Estaremos en el hotel del 20 al 23 de diciembre.
We will be at the hotel from December 20 to 23.

Alternative formula: “desde… hasta…”

The formula “desde… hasta…” has the same uses as “de… a…”.

Here are some of the sentences we have already read, but now using “desde… hasta…”:

La Segunda Guerra Mundial fue desde 1939 hasta 1945.

Ellos conducen desde su casa hasta el supermercado.

Estaremos en el hotel desde el 20 hasta el 23 de diciembre.

Just be mindful that hours and days of the week, which didn’t need their articles with “de… a…”, do need articles with “desde… hasta…” :

Estoy en la oficina desde las nueve hasta las cuatro.

Tú tienes clases desde el lunes hasta el viernes.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!