Preposition "en" (on/in/inside/at) - general use (prepositions)

The basic and general use of the Spanish preposition "en" is to express "on/in/at" in the following contexts:

Location

We use en to express in/on/inside/at somewhere. For example:

Estoy en la playa con mis hijos.I am at the beach with my children.

Hay mucha gente en el restaurante.There are lots of people in the restaurant.

Mis libros están en la mesa.My books are on the table.

La niña está poniendo los juguetes en la caja grande.The girl is putting the toys in/inside the big box.

Be careful not to use the preposition "a" when the English "at" is used in this context. This would be incorrect:

Estamos a la playa.  
We are at the beach.

Time (seasons, months, specific times of year)

When we want to say in/at + season/ month/ specific time of year we use the preposition en. For example:

Siempre voy a Málaga en verano.I always go to Málaga in summer.

Abrimos muchos regalos en Navidad.We open lots of presents at Christmas.

Mi cumpleaños es en marzo.My birthday is in March.

Most means of transport

To express what means of transport a person is using we generally use en. For example:

¿Vamos a Londres en coche o en tren?Are we going to London by car or by train?

Yo prefiero ir al trabajo en autobús.I prefer to go to work by bus.

Not all means of transport use the preposition en. Have a look at these exceptions:

Exceptions:

Carlos va a la aldea a caballo. 
Carlos is going to the hamlet on a horse.

Vamos a pie.
We are going on foot.

See also:

 

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Examples and resources

¿Vamos a Londres en coche o en tren?Are we going to London by car or by train?
Hay mucha gente en el restaurante.There are lots of people in the restaurant.
Abrimos muchos regalos en Navidad.We open lots of presents at Christmas.
Estoy en la playa con mis hijos.I am at the beach with my children.
Siempre voy a Málaga en verano.I always go to Málaga in summer.
Mi cumpleaños es en marzo.My birthday is in March.
La niña está poniendo los juguetes en la caja grande.The girl is putting the toys in/inside the big box.
Yo prefiero ir al trabajo en autobús.I prefer to go to work by bus.
Mis libros están en la mesa.My books are on the table.
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