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Por and Para

One of the most challenging parts of learning Spanish is to use the prepositions properly. In this respect, two of the common prepositions cause difficulties among language learners. These are “por” and “para”. Both can practically be translated into English as “for”. Because of this, Spanish learners mix up their uses at times. It’s best not to try to translate them but instead in which cases they need to be used. Therefore, in this lesson, we cover the situations which one should be used when.

When to use “por”

It is used to mean or indicate the following


  • pelear por la libertad to fighting for liberty
  • trabajar por dinero to work for money

because of

  • La ciudad es farmosa por su iglesia the city is famous for its church
  • tuvo que suspenderse por el mal tiempo it had to be cancelled because of the bad weather


  • por la mañana in the morning
  • por la tarde in the afternoon


  • se quedarán por 10 días  they will stay for ten days

ways of means

  • ir por tren to go by train

in exchange of

  • vender por 10 dólare to sell for 10 dolars


  • la conozco por mi amigo I know her through a friend
  • por la puerta through the door


Fue escrito por Shakespeare it was written by Shakespeare

on behalf of, for the sake of

  • hablar por todos to speak on behalf of everyone


  • tres por dos three times two

unit of measure

  • se vende por libras it’s sold for

expresses rate

  • sesenta millas por hora seventy miles an hour

to be in favor of

When por is used with estar, it means to be in favor  or indicates that something has to be done yet.

  • la carta esta por escribir the letter is yet to be written

various fixed expresssions

There are so many fixed expression with por which are very common. For example;

“por ejemplo” means for example. You may find a list of such expressions under the vocabulary section below.

When to use “para”

It is used to mean or indicate the following 

intended for

It indicates the recipient of a something

  • la carta es para mi padres the letter is for my parents

It can be used to refer to the place where something will be placed as well.

  • la mesa is para la cocina the table is for the kitchen

in order to

In this case, “para” is followed by an infinitive.

Para hablar bien el epañol, es importante practicar mucho It’s important to practice a lot in order to speak Spanish well


  • Voy para casa I go home
  • Salgo para Madrid I leave to go to Madrid


  • tengo muchos deberes para mañana I have a lot of homework to do for tomorrow

to be about to

If “estar” is followed by “para” and an infinitive, the resulting phrase means “to be about to”.  

  • estoy para salir I am about to leave
  • el tren está para llegar The train is about to leave

so that

  • un regalo para que te acuerdes de mí a present for you so that you remember me

para siempre

It means forever 


por último finally

por última vez for the last time

por fin finally, at last

por primera vez for the first time

por favor please

por amor for love

por mi parte as for me

por ahora for now

palabra por palabra word for word

por supuesto of course

por adelantado in advance

por ningún lado nowhere

por completo completely

por necesidad out of necessity

por adelantado in advance

por ahora for now

por lo visto apparently

por lo menos at least

por mar by sea

por aquí cerca over here

por casualidad by chance

por añadidura in addition

palabra por palabra word by word

día por día day by day

por cierto certainly

por lo tanto therefore

por poco almost

por separado separately

por suerte fortunately                                      

Let's Practice

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