Por and Para

Por y Para, Parte I

In English, the word ‘for’ has many uses:

prep for

1 to be given or sent to This letter is for you.
2 towards; in the direction of We set off for London.
3 through a certain time or distance for three hours; for three miles.
4 in order to have, get, be etc He asked me for some money; Go for a walk.
5 in return; as payment He paid $2 for his ticket.
6 in order to be prepared He's getting ready for the journey.
7 representing He is the member of parliament for Hull.
8 on behalf of Will you do it for me?
9 in favour of Are you for or against the plan?
10 because of for this reason.
11 having a particular purpose She gave me money for the bus fare.
12 indicating an ability or an attitude to a talent for baking; an ear for music.
13 as being They mistook him for someone else.
14 considering what is used in the case of It is quite warm for January (= considering that it is January when it is usually cold).
15 in spite of For all his money, he didn't seem happy.

because It must be late, for I have been here a long time.

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.

The word ‘for’ translates as either por or para in Spanish. Ch. 8 from Schuam's Outline of Spanish Grammar explains when to use por or para:

The prepositions por and para have very specific uses in Spanish. Por has many different uses and therefore poses the most problems. Para is usually associated with either destination or limitation.

The preposition para is used to indicate destination or purpose.

El barco salió para España.
The ship left for Spain.

Este regalo es para María.
This gift is for Mary.

Estudia para abogado.
He studies (to be) a lawyer.

The preposition por is used to indicate through or along.

Viajaron por España.
They traveled through Spain.

El barco pasó por las orillas.
The ship passed by the shores.

El ladron entró por la ventana.
The thief entered through the window.

Por also has the meaning of in behalf of, in favor of, instead of. Note the difference in the following sentences.

Compré el regalo para María.
I bought the gift for Mary. (In other words, I am going to give the gift to Mary.)

Compré el regalo por María.
I bought the gift for Mary. (The gift is for another person but Mary could not go to buy it so I went for her.)

The preposition por is used after the verbs ir (to go), mandar (to send), volver (to return), venir (to come), etc., in order to show the reason for the errand.

El niño fue por agua.
The boy went for water.

Vino por el médico.
He came for the doctor.

1. Complete the following sentences with por or para.

1. El avión sale___________________ San Juan.
2. Ellos han pasado ______________ aquí.
3. El va a la plaza _______________ agua.
4. Compré esta falda ____________ Elena.
5. El entró _____________ aquella puerta.
6. ¿ _____________ quién es este libro?
7. Queremos viajar ______________ Chile.
8. Ellos vendrán ___________ ayuda.
9. El periódico es ____________ papa.
10. Ella lo hará ____________ María si ella no lo puede hacer.


1. para
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Schmitt, Conrad J.. Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar.

Blacklick, OH, USA: McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group, 1998. p 157.

Copyright © 1998. McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group. All rights reserved.


I like the outline here, and the explanations. Do you still use that book, "Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar"? Or do you use an updated version? I am new to tutoring so i'm looking for some good practice books for future students. Look forward to hearing from you, Thanks


Michelle P.

Spanish Tutor - Spanish 1, 2

50+ hours
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