“Por” VS “Para”

“Por” and “para” are two Spanish prepositions.

It is important to learn when to use “por” and when to use “para”.

As a first approach, if you are an English speaker, it is a good idea to associate several English words with “por” and several words with “para”.


  • English words to associate with “por”:

“because of”, “through”, “in exchange for”


  • English words to associate with “para”:

“in order to”, “according to”, “directed to”


Now we will see the main uses of “por” and “para” with example sentences:


Uses of “Por”


Cause (“because of”)

Hoy no salgo por la lluvia = I don’t go out today because of the rain.

Estoy aquí por ti = I’m here because of you.


Path, Itinerary – but not direction!!  (“through”)

Voy a pasear por la playa = I’m going to walk along the beach.

Tienes que entrar por la puerta = You have to enter through the door


Exchanges (“in exchange for”)

Te cambio la pelota por el muñeco = I give you the ball in exchange for the doll.


Additional phrases with “Por”:

  • por favor = please
  • por supuesto = of course
  • por ciento = percent
  • por hora = per hour
  • gracias por = thanks for…
  • perdona por = sorry for…
  • lo siento por = sorry for…
  • por qué = why
  • por la mañana / tarde / noche = in the morning / afternoon / night

Uses of “Para”


Goal (“in order to”)

Aprendo español para viajar a Sudamérica = I learn Spanish in order to travel to South America

Para estar en forma, la clave es hacer ejercicio = In order to stay fit, the key is to exercise


Opinion (“according to”)

Para mí, la amistad es lo más importante = To me (“according to me”), friendship is the most important thing.

Para los españoles, el jamón ibérico es sagrado = To the spaniards (“according to them”), Iberian ham is sacred.


Recipient (“directed to”)

Esta carta es para ti = This letter is for you (directed to you).

Los caramelos son para los niños = The candies are for the children (are “directed to” them).


Destination (“directed to”)

Vamos para Francia = We are going “direction” France.


Additional phrases with “Para”:

  • para siempre = forever
  • para que = so that
  • para qué = for what


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