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Learn Spanish: Prepositions Por vs. Para

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Por vs. Para


Learn Spanish: Spanish Prepositions Por vs. Para

This learn Spanish grammar lesson reviews two of the main and most often used Spanish prepositions -- por and para, both which mean "for." However, each of these Spanish prepositions has unique and specific uses that you must simply memorize.

When to use Por?

1. Duration

Expressing duration of time: "for" Quiero viajar por tres semanas.
I want to travel for three weeks.
Indicating a period of time during the 24-hour day: "for," "at," "during," "on," or "throughout" Voy al aeropuerto por la noche.
I'm going to the airport at night.
Expressing the Latin term "per" Limpio mi casa una vez por semana.
I clean my house once per week.

2. Substitution or Exchange

Expressing an equal exchange or trade: "for" Compré el libro por veinte dólares.
I bought the book for twenty dollars.
Expressing substitution: "in/on behalf" or "in place of" Mi padre habló por mi madre.
My dad spoke on behalf of my mom.
Expressing thanks/gratitude: "for" Muchas gracias por el regalo.
Thanks a lot for the gift.

3. Motivation

Expressing having done something or "because of": "due to" Por estar triste, no quiero salir.
Because of being sad, I don't want to go out.
Expressing a motive: "for" or "because of" Voy a la fiesta por las chicas bonitas.
I'm going to the party because of the pretty girls.
Expressing why something/someone is a certain way: "for," "due to," or "because of" Gano más dinero por mi experiencia.
I earn more money because of my experience.

4. Movement

Expressing means of transportation: "by" or "on" Voy a viajar por avion.
I am going to travel by plane.
Expressing method of sending messages/information: "by"or "via" Te mandaré el documento por correo electrónico.
I'll send you the document by e-mail.
Indicating a temporary stopping point: "by" or "through" Pasa por mi casa antes de ir a la playa.
Stop by my house before going to the beach.

5. Emotions

Expressing a like/dislike or an emotion for someone/something: "for" Él tiene mucho respeto por su maestra.
He has a lot of respect for his teacher.

When to use Para?

1. Destination

Expressing real or figurative destination: "for" La bateria es para el radio.
The battery is for the radio.
Expressing the recipient of an action: "for" La cerveza es para ti.
The beer is for you.
Expressing direction or final travel destination: "to" or "for" Mi hermano va para Boston mañana.

My brother is going to Bostontomorrow.

Indicating the objective or goal of an action, such as profession: "to be" Estudio para abogado.
I'm studying to be a lawyer.

2. Purpose

Expressing purpose: "for" El dinero es para comprar una casa.
The money is for buying a house.
Expressing why one does something: "in order to" Ella se acuesta temprano para despertarse temprano.
She goes to bed early in order to wake up early.

3. Deadline

Expressing a specific time limit or future deadline: "for," "by," or "before" Necesito mudarme para el próximo viernes.
I need to move by next Friday.

4. Standard

Expressing a comparison to a certain standard: "for" Hace mucho frío para abril.
It's very cold for April.
Expressing an opinion or personal standard: "for" Para mí, el vino tinto es mejor que el vino blanco.
In my opinion (for me), red wine is better than white wine.