"The pen is under the desk."
Translation:El bolígrafo está debajo del escritorio.
There are required combinations that simply must become automatic. "Debajo de"= under is just one example.
But there are other words that mean the exact same thing that do not need to be combined.
For example, "bajo" means under all by itself.
"Debajo de" = "bajo" = under or beneath.
Kelly, debajo is an adverb, so you can't use it on its own together with a noun. Instead, you need to place a preposition between them to make them play nice with each other. That preposition is de in most cases.
English does something like that as well with one adverb, "close". You cannot case "The car is close the bridge" in English, because "close" doesn't work as a preposition. Instead, you'll add "to": "It's close to the bridge." The de in the Spanish sentence serves that same function.
You can also say "El bolígrafo está bajo el escritorio" if you want. Bajo is a preposition itself.
Thanks, Ryagon! Good explanation and English example.
I love this sentence. Each time it comes up in the email list I end up googling "debajo de vs. bajo". Finally, I'm beginning to understand the various discussions, and your explanation in the above post is a great short summary.
Now, on to abajo de . . . .
Brooke, debajo is an adverb, meaning "below" or "underneath". As an adverb, you cannot combine it with nouns by itself, but you'd need a preposition instead. De gives it that prepositional meaning. You have that mechanic quite often in Spanish:
- El libro está debajo de la manta. - The book is under the blanket.
- Estoy cerca de la tienda. - I am near the store.
- Hablamos acerca del tiempo. - We talked about the weather.