To in Spanish: All the possible translations, use by use

How to translate To in Spanish

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The English word to serves a variety of functions in sentences, from indicating direction to expressing purpose.

When learning Spanish, understanding how to translate and use to correctly can be a bit challenging due to its multiple equivalents and contexts. That’s why we brought you this guide to help you navigate the different uses of to in Spanish, ensuring you can communicate effectively and accurately.

Most of the times to translates to a preposition in Spanish, so we’ll show you the possible translations and contexts they are used.

Let’s get started!

To in Spanish: Purpose

In Spanish, to indicating purpose is often translated as the prepositions para or a. This is used when expressing the intention behind an action or the purpose of an object.

  • Vine a ver el nuevo proyecto. – I came to see the new project.
  • Roberto se quedó a descansar un rato. – Roberto stayed to rest for a while.
  • Estudio para aprender español. – I’m studying to learn Spanish.
  • Ella compró flores para decorar la casa. – She bought flowers to decorate the house.

To in Spanish: Possession

One of the ways to express possession in Spanish is by using certain verbs, such as pertenecer or ser, which are followed by the prepositions a and de, which are translated as to in Spanish in this context.

  • La libreta verde le pertenece a mi hermanito. – The green notebook belongs to my little brother.
  • Esos juguetes no me pertenecen. – Those toys don’t belong to me.
  • La libreta es de mi hermanito. – The notebook belongs to my little brother.
  • Esos juguetes no son míos. – Those toys don’t belong to me.

To in Spanish: Direction

The most common translations of to in terms of direction is a. However, other common translations are hacia and hasta. There are subtle differences in translation between these three, so let’s take a look at them in context first.

  • Andrea y yo vamos a la peluquería, ¿vienes con nosotras? – Andrea and I are going to the hairdresser’s, are you coming with us?
  • Ellos están corriendo hacia el parque. – They are running to the park.
  • Caminemos hasta la playa. – Let’s walk to the beach.

Note that while a simply means to for destinations, hacia and hasta both deal with movement or direction. Hacia indicates a general direction, like towards, while hasta has a specific endpoint in time (until) or space (as far as).

To in Spanish: Time

When expressing time in Spanish, to can be translated as a or hasta when used to talk about precise times or duration.

  • La reunión es de 7 a 8AM. – The meeting is from 7 to 8AM.
  • Estaré en la oficina desde las 3 hasta las 4PM. – I will be in the office from 3 to 4PM.

Now, when talking about the relation of how many minutes are left to an hour, we use menos or para to express to in Spanish

  • Son las ocho menos cinco. – It is five to eight.
  • Faltan diez para las tres. – It’s ten to three.
  • Es un cuarto para las doce. – It’s ten to three.

To in Spanish: Indirect Object

In Spanish, the indirect object is often accompanied by a when to is implied. This is used to indicate to whom or for whom an action is done.

  • Le di el libro a María. – I gave the book to Maria.
  • Envió una carta a su amigo. – He sent a letter to his friend.
  • Luisa le está recitando un poema a la clase. – Luisa is reciting a poem to the class.

To in Spanish: Infinitive use

To before a verb in English is often translated to the infinitive form of the verb in Spanish, which ends in -ar, -er, or -ir. Unlike English, Spanish infinitives do not use a separate preposition; the verb itself carries the meaning.

  • Amar. – To love.
  • Comer. – To eat
  • Reír. – To laugh.

Just like in English, we often use infinitives in Spanish along with other verbs. Let’s take a look at some examples with verbs commonly used with infinitives

  • Los niños quieren jugar en el parque. – The kids want to play in the park.
  • A ellos les gusta comer sushi. – They like to eat sushi.
  • Nosotros necesitamos practicar más para el torneo. – We need to practice more for the tournament.


Understanding how to translate and use to in Spanish can be challenging due to its multiple equivalents and varied contexts. This guide has aimed to clarify these different uses to ensure you can communicate effectively and accurately in Spanish.

We’ve covered how to translates to para or a for indicating purpose. For possession, verbs like pertenecer or ser are followed by a and de.

When discussing direction, a, hacia, and hasta are the key prepositions. A is used for specific destinations, hacia indicates general direction, and hasta specifies an endpoint.

In terms of time, a and hasta express precise times or durations. We also use menos or para for time expressions.

For indirect objects, a indicates to whom or for whom something is done. The infinitive form of verbs, ending in -ar, -er, or -ir, translates “to” in various phrases.

By mastering these uses of to in Spanish, you’ll enhance your ability to express directions, purposes, possession, time, and actions accurately. Keep practicing these concepts to ensure clarity and precision in your Spanish communication. See you in the next post!


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