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Por vs Para in Spanish - Guide and rules

13 May, 2017 Popular Articles
Por vs Para in Spanish - Guide and rules2 votes. 5 / 5

In Spanish, por and para have a variety of meanings. However, language learners often feel confused when using "por" and "para" since they both can be translated as "for", "by", "on", "because of", "in order to", and some other prepositions. Here in this article, we will show you how and when to use por and para. Just keep reading to get por and para rules for usage.

Por vs Para Rules

When to use por in Spanish? - Por rules

Por is often used if you want to talk about movement, means of communication or travel, motivation, duration, etc.

1. Means and modes of travel and communication

Use por to talk about the way you communicate (phone, email, etc) or travel (car, train, bus, etc; or the route that you take).


La contacté por correo - I contacted her by email

Prefiero viajar por tren y hablar por teléfono - I prefer to travel by train and speak by phone

Viajé por Francia y España - I traveled through France and Spain

¿Quieres pasar por el parque? - Do you want to go through the park?

2. Exchange


Él me dio diez dólares por el libro - He gave me ten dollars for the book

Te cambio mi manzana por tu sandwich - I'll trade you my apple for your sandwich

3. Duration or a length of time

For example:

Yo estudié por dos horas - I studied for two hours

Se puede ver las estrellas por la noche - One can see the stars during the night

4. When talking about motivation, cause, or reason


El hombre murió por falta de agua - The man died for lack of water

Por su amor a los niños, quiere ser pediatra - Because of her love for children, she wants to be a pediatrician

5. Frequency or proportion

For example:

Voy al restaurante cinco veces por semana - I go to the restaurant five times per week

When to use para? - Para rules

1. Destination

Para is used to talk about physical destinations.


El hombre salió para Madrid - The man left for Madrid

¿ Para dónde vas con tanta prisa? - Where are you going in such a hurry? 

2. Recipient

Use para if you want to indicate the recipient of something.

For xample:

Este regalo es para ti - This gift is for you

3. Deadline or specific time


Tengo que terminar esto para las ocho - I need to finish this by eight o'clock

4. Goal, or the use or purpose of something


Trabaja mucho para ganar más dinero - He works a lot in order to earn more money

El vaso es para agua - The glass is for water

Corro para mantenerme en forma - I run to stay in shape

Por vs para rules of usage in Spanish

Por and para rules of usage in Spanish

You may want to know when to use Saber vs Conocer

It's really important to learn to use por and para correctly since if you substitute one for the other, then, you might end up saying something that is different from what you intended.

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