Por and Para in Spanish language

There are two conjunctions: Por and Para, both of which have the meaning “for”, and other meanings. And this subject can be complicated.

When to use PARA:

  • PARA as “for” in sentences kind of “Something for something”, i.e. for recipient

Lo hago para tí – I do it for you

Este bar es bueno para la fiesta – This bar is good for the party

Él regaló las flores para su novia – He gave the flowers for his girlfriend

  • PARA as “In order to, to” / “for doing something” / “for the purpose of”, i.e. for goals

Ahorramos el dinero para viajar – We save money in order to travel/ for traveling

Él invierte el dinero en criptomonedas para lucrar – He invests money to crypto-currencies in order to profit

Ella estudia duro para obtener la educación – She studies hard to get an education

  • Indication of destination, e.g. IR PARA – to go to

In this case IR PARA equals IR A

Ella va para Nueva-York = Ella va a Nueva-York – She goes to New-York

Hoy voy a ir para la fiesta = Hoy voy a ir a la fiesta – Today I am going to go to the party

¿Cuándo volverás para Bolivia? = ¿Cuándo volverás a Bolivia? – When you return to Bolivia?

  • PARA as BY,ON in the sentences like “by Monday, on Tuesday etc.”, i.e for deadlines

Tengo que estar aquí para el martes – I have to be here by the Tuesday

¿Qué vas a hacer para el lunes? – What are you going to do on Monday?

La computadora debe estar disponible para las ocho – The computer must be available at eight o’clock

When to use POR:

  • POR as analogue of English “for” in meaning of duration

Mi amigo de Brasil llegó a mi casa por una semana – My friend from Brasil came to my home for one week

Estaremos aquí por dos días – We will be here for two days

La moneda de nuestro país estaba creciendo por un largo tiempo – The currency of our country was growing for long time

  • POR as “via, through”

Yo voy a Amsterdam por Berlin – I go to Amsterdam via Berlina

Viajaremos a los Caribes por Madrid – We will travel to the Caribbeans via Madrid

Tenemos que caminar por un barrio peligroso cada día – We have to walk through a dangerous district everyday

  • POR as BY in sentences kind of “do something by something”, “travel by (vehicle)”

Prefiero hablar sobre eso por teléfono – I prefer to talk about that by phone

Te gusta viajar por tren? – Do you like to travel by train?

Ella corta la ensalada por un cuchillo – She slices the salad by knife

  • POR as English “per”, e.g. “per hour”

Cien kilómetros por hora – Hundred kilometers per hour (100km/h)

La fábrica puede producir cincuenta automóviles por día – The factory can produce fifty automobiles per day

¿Cuántos páginas puedes leer por un minuto? – How many pages can you read for one minute?

  • Thanking for, respect for, love for

Te agradezco mucho por tu regalo – I tank you a lot for your gift

Ellos tienen mucho respeto por nuestra nación – They have a lot of respect for our nation

Ella siente mucho amor por todo lo que hace – She feels much love for everything that she does

  • When one trades, exchanges one thing for another

Le pagué diez dolares por la ayuda – I payed him ten dollars for the help

Vamos a intercambiar nuestros dolares por los pesos mexicanos – Let’s exchange our dollars for Mexican pesos

¿Cuanto pacas por los clases de baile? – How much do you pay for dance classes?

  • POR as FOR in meaning of “on behalf of”

El ingeniero trabaja por una empresa tecnológica – The engineer works for a technological enterprise (on behalf of a technological company)

Lo hago por su solicitud – I do it for his request (on behalf of his request)

Confiamos en su apoyo por este proyecto – We rely on their support for this project (on behalf of this project)

  • Reasoning, like “because of …”, “for …”

Port tí yo cambié mi vida – Because of you I changed my life

Por su idea, Daniel tiene que trabajar duro – Because of his idea, Daniel has to work hard

Helena trabaja como voluntaria en un hospital por su deseo de ayudar a la gente – Helena works as a volunteer in a hospital because of her wish to help people

  • In the morning, afternoon, at night

Por la mañana – In the morning

Por la tarde – In the afternoon

Por la noche – At night

Te llamaré por la mañana – I will call you at morning

¿Ad ónde vamos a ir por la noche? – Where are we going to go at night?

A los niños les gusta dormir por la tarde – The kids like to sleep in the afternoon

  • With verbs that require the prepositions POR

You will find these verbs in the chapter “Verbs that require prepositions”

Idioms with POR and PARA:

Por ejemplo – for example

Por cierto – By the way

Por tu culpa – Because of you

Por supuesto – of course

Por fin – finally

Para siempre – forever

Para que – so that


Esto es un regalo para tí – This is a gift for you

No quiero estudiarlo para trabajar allí – I don’t want to study it in order to work there

Él lo estudia para ser especialista – He studies it for the purpose of being a specialist

Voy para tomar una cerveza más – I am going to take one more beer

Yo deje de fumar por tu culpa – I gave up smoking because of you

Por fin podemos descansar de eso – Finally we can relax form that

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