Spanish "Por" vs "Para"

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview
Although both Spanish prepositions por and para can often be translated as "for," they have separate meanings and can seldom be used as synonyms.
-Por is often used to indicate who performs an action or the reason for it being performed.
-Para is often used to indicate the result of an action being performed.
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Spanish A1

 

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How to use Por and Para in Spanish

In Spanish the words POR and PARA both mean “for” but also serve many other uses depending on the context in which they are used. Tricky! Today we’re going to give you some easy tips and tricks for remembering the meanings of POR and PARA and the rules for using each one.

Let’s start with when to use POR:

  1. Means of travel or communication

    Hablamos por teléfono. We talk on the phone.

    Caminamos por el parque cuando vamos a la oficina. We walk through the park when we go to the office.

    El Verano pasado viajamos por Barcelona. Last summer we traveled through Barcelona.

  2. Detail an exchange of goods or services

    Te doy cinco dólares por esa camisa. I’ll give you $5 for that shirt.

  3. Duration of an activity or period of time

    Hicimos ejercicio por una hora. We worked out for an hour.

  4. Reason

Cocino por ti porque te quiero. I cook for you because I love you.

When to use PARA:

  1. Destination

    ¿Para dónde vas de vacaciones? Where are you going on vacation?

  2. Intended recipient

    El dinero es para Antonio. The money is not for Antonio.

    Mi ayuda no es para los perezososo. My help is not for lazy people.

  3. Deadline

    Ustedes tienen que terminar el proyecto para el viernes. You all have to finish your project by Friday.

  4. Purpose (“in order to”) *this case is usually seen with an infinitive form of the verb used

Necesito hacer ejercicio para ser saludable. I need to exercise to be healthy.

Estudio para tener éxito en la escuela. I study to be successful in school.

Summary of POR and PARA uses:

POR

PARA

Means of travel

Destination

Exchange

Intended recipient

Time

Deadline

Reason

Purpose

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Let’s practice!

In section 1, decide whether the statement is True or False. For section 2, choose whether POR (a) or PARA (b) would be used. Be sure to click READ MORE to check the answer key once you are finished!

  1. T/F Por and para both mean “for”.
  2. T/F Para is used to talk about duration of time.
  3. Pagué $5 _______ este carro.
  4. Salimos _______ la playa a las 10 de la mañana.
  5. Anoche dormí _______ 8 horas.
  6. Necesito el product final _______ el viernes.
  7. Viajamos _______ avión cuando vamos a Chile.
  8. El pastel es _______ porque hoy es su cumpleaños.
  9. Te doy este sándwich _______ tu ensalda.
  10. Vemos tele _______ dos horas cada noche.

 

 

Answer key: 1. T, 2. F, 3. Por (exchange), 4. Para (destination), 5. Por (duration of time), 6. Para (deadline), 7. Por (means on travel), 8. Para (recipient), 9. Por (exchange), 10. Por (duration of time)

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