Spanish Prepositions ‘por’ and ‘para’

August 20, 2008 by admin

The use of ‘por’ and ‘para’ , both meaning ‘for’ or ‘by’ , can be a bit confusing at first.

The difference is that;

  • ‘por’ looks back to the origins of, or the root causes of  the circumstances;
  • ‘para’ looks forward to the result, aim or destination of the  the circumstances.

Spanish ‘Por’ is used to express, or used with;

  • Cause, reason, motive (usually to say why something has happened),

    lo hizo por amor = I did it for love.

    vamos a brindar por el éxito del disco = lets toast to the success of the C.|D.

    lo han despedido del trabajo por vago =  they have given him the sack for laziness.

  • The place where the action takes place,

    pasean por la calle = they walk in the street.

    el ladrón debió de entrar por la ventana = the burglar must have entered by the window.

    por aquí no hay salida = there is no exit here.

    ¿te gusta pasear por el campo? =  do you like to walk in the countyside?

  • The means ,

    lo enviaron por avión =  they send it by aeroplane.

  • The agent of the passive voice ,

    la llave fue encontrada por el portero = the key was found by the doorman.

  • Substitution, equivalence ,

    aquí comes por mi ocho euros = here you can eat for eight euros.

  • Distribution, proportion ,

    cinco por ciento = five per cent.

  • Multiplication and measurements ,

    cinco por dos son diez.

  • “In search of” with a verbs of movement (‘ir’, to go, ‘venir’, to come, etc),

    voy por pan = I go for bread.

  • With price , (precio);

    puedo comprar tres camisas por 10 euros = I can buy three shirts for 10 euros.

Spanish ‘Para’ is used to express, or used with;

  • Finality, destiny (often in the future),

    es para tu padre = it is for your father,

    compra pescado para la cena =  he is buying fish for the evening meal.

    este trasto no sirve para nada, eatá estropeado -  this piece of junk is useless, it’s broken.

    para ser ingeniero hay que estudiar mucho = to be an engineer you have to study a lot.

  • Direction of movement , (i.e. towards),

    salen para Valencia = the leave for Valencia.

    ya que vas al la cocina, llévate esto para allá = as you are going to the kitchen, take this there.

  • Deadlines ,

    lo quiro para mañana = I want it for tomorrow.

  • Comparison ,

    para saber hay que estudiar = to know you have to study.

  • Convenience ,

    no es bueno para los pies =  it’s not good for the feet.

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