Encima, sobre or en... When and how to use them

Hi everybody :wave: Today is that time of the week to clear doubts and learn more about the difference between “Encima, sobre and en:raised_hands:.

Here I’ll present to you a list of the different meanings that these three may have. The image provides you some examples, but it does not have all of the uses, as it could have been too much information :grimacing:.

  • Sentido Físico (Physical meaning): We use sobre, en and encima in order to refer to the position of something on top of something else, usually horizontally.
    That’s why it is okay to say: El libro está sobre la mesa// en la mesa // encima de la mesa.

    En usually can be used as well to refer to a vertical position. For example, paintings on the wall or things hanging, such as a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. For example:

    Las pinturas están en la pared - El candelabro está en el techo

  • Con o sin contacto (with or without contact): The preposition en implies that there is a contact between the object and where it lays. While encima and sobre are also used in situations where there is no contact between the objects.

  • Dentro de (inside): From the three, you can ONLY use the preposition en in order to express that someone/ something is inside a place or an object.

  • Sentido figurado (figurative meaning): When you want to refer to positions but in a sense of hierarchy and power, you can use sobre and encima. That would mean that the person who is “encima” or “sobre” has more power and a better position than the other person.

I hope this helped to clear some doubts :blush:.

Are there any mistakes that you use to make with these three? :see_no_evil:


Very helpful, thank you @27sp.sandra! Sometimes it’s the simplest prepositions that are the most confusing…


this is soooooo helpful!!! thank you so much!

1 Like

Pleasure :hugs: I’m glad it helps :raised_hands:.

1 Like

Hi @JoAnn :hugs:,

I think this article could help you, with the topic we saw yesterday :happyllama:. If you have any doubts, just let me know!

1 Like

¡Muchas gracias, @27sp.sandra! :star_struck:

1 Like