Spanish Prepositions - Por vs. Para   By Ron Slone

Grammar Spanish Prepositions Por vs Para
Overview

Proper use of the prepositions por and para can be difficult for non-native Spanish speakers because of their variety of meanings. Both of them usually mean "for". Let's focus on their uses.

Use por to indicate reason or motive:

Estoy aquí por asuntos de negocios.
       I am here because of (for) business reasons.

Use por when discussing time or day:

Hago la tarea por las noches.
       I do homework at night (for nights).

Use por when expressing exchange:

Te doy mis palabras por tu dinero.
       I give you my words for your money.

Use para to indicate purpose or use :

Sonia va al supermercado para comprar el pan.
       Sonia goes to the grocery store in order (for)
        to buy the bread.

Use para to express destination: recipient (a person):

María va a comprar un regalo para él.
       Mary is going to buy a gift for him.

Use para to express destination: location (a place):

¿A qué hora parte un tren para Berlín?
       What time does a train leave for Berlin?

     Use para to show use:
Aquí hay un lápiz de color para colorear.
      Here is a colored pencil for coloring.

     Use para for specific time:
Sólo para el año nuevo.
      Only for New Years Eve.

     Use para to say being:
Es muy caro para un anillo.
      It is very expensive for a ring.

     Use por for a place or an area:
Está por el barrio.
      It's for (around) the neighborhood.

     Use por to express per:
Puede tener una hora por día como máximo.
      You can have one hour for (per) day
      maximum.

     Use por to express passive voice:
El taxi es conducido por Juan.
      The taxi is driven by Juan.

Use por with manner, means of:
Ellos vienen por tren.
      They come for (by) train.

Use por with price:
¿Cuánto cobran por noche?
      How much do you all charge for (per) night?

Use por with verbs like ir, enviar, venir, etc.:
La comisión por enviar el dinero es de veinte
       dólares.

      The fee for sending the money is $20.

Use para for opinion:
Para mí, el color del coche es muy importante.
      For me (in my opinion), the color of the car is
       very important.

Use para to say for:
Sí, un medicamento para la gripe.
      Yes, a medicine for a cold.


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