“por” vs “para” in Spanish – Learn and Practice

Welcome 😊 to our grammar lesson on how to choose between por and para in Spanish.

These two prepositions have different uses, so depending on the sentence you will need one or the other.

Two sentences with "por" and "para"
Two sentences with “por” and “para”

By the end of this lesson, you will have the tools to choose correctly in most cases.

You will also find a Quiz and Exercises to practice.

Uses of “por”

We mainly use por to express these ideas:

  • Cause (“because of”)

Hoy no salgo por la lluvia.
I’m not going out today because of the rain.

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

  • Path (“through, along”)

Yo paseo por la playa.
I walk along the beach.

Tú entras por la puerta.
You enter through the door.

  • Exchange (“in exchange for”)

Te cambio la pelota por el muñeco.
I trade you the ball for the doll.

Uses of “para”

We mainly use para to express these ideas:

  • Purpose (“in order to”)

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

Para estar en forma, es importante hacer ejercicio.
In order stay in shape, it’s important to exercise.

  • Opinions (“according to”)

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

  • Receiver

Esta carta es para ti.
This letter is for you (you are the receiver).

Los caramelos son para los niños.
The candies are for the children (they are the receiver).

  • Destination (“to, towards”)

Normally we use “a” for destination, but “para” is also fine in informal conversations.

Vamos para Francia.
We are going/driving towards France.

So how do we translate the English word “for”?

Both “por” and “para” can mean “for”, depending on the sentence.

The trick is: when translating a sentence with “for”, try to rephrase it and see if it matches any of the cases in this lesson.

For example, the sentence “I’m doing this for you”.

If we mean “I’m doing this because of you”, then it is “por”:

Estoy haciendo esto por ti.

However, if we mean “I’m doing something, and you’ll be the receiver of it”, then it is “para”:

Estoy haciendo esto para ti.

Other phrases with “por” and “para”

Apart from the main uses explained above, there are some common phrases that include “por” or “para”.

The Spanish student should learn these phrases by heart:

Phrases with “por”:

  • por favor = please
  • por supuesto = of course
  • por ciento = percent
  • por hora / minuto / segundo = per hour / minute / second
  • gracias por = thanks for…
  • perdón por = sorry for…
  • lo siento por = sorry for…
  • por qué = why
  • por la mañana / tarde / noche = in the morning / afternoon / night
  • por último = lastly, finally
  • por teléfono = by phone
  • por una parte / por un lado = on one hand
  • por otra parte / por otro lado = on the other hand
  • por todas partes = everywhere
  • por si acaso = just in case
  • por tanto / por lo tanto = therefore
  • por lo visto = apparently
  • por lo menos = at least
  • por ahora = for now
  • por casualidad = by chance
  • por suerte = luckily
  • por desgracia = unfortunately
  • por fin = finally, at last
  • por lo demás = otherwise, apart from that

Phrases with “para”:

  • para siempre = forever
  • para que = so that
  • para qué = for what
  • para empezar = for starters
  • para variar = just for a change



Take this short Quiz about “por” vs “para”:

Exercise 1

Complete the following sentences choosing between “por” and “para”. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1) Para ti, ¿quién es el mejor jugador?
To you, who’s the best player?

2) Ella me gusta por su simpatía.
I like her because of her friendliness.

3) Voy para Roma.
I’m driving towards Rome.

4) Para hacer una tortilla, necesitamos huevos.
In order to make an omelette, we need eggs.

5) Cambio el cromo de Messi por el de Cristiano.
I trade Messi’s sticker for Cristiano’s.

6) Conducimos por el pueblo.
We drive through the town.

7) El dinero recaudado es para una ONG.
The money raised is for an NGO.

Exercise 2

More sentences! Choose between “por” and “para”:

8) Hemos comprado este sofá por su calidad.
We’ve bought this sofa because of its quality.

9) Ellos conducen a cien kilómetros por hora.
They drive at a hundred kilometers per hour.

10) Para mí, la democracia es el mejor sistema político.
To me, democracy is the best political system.

11) Este vaso es para ella.
This glass if for her.

12) Para saber, hay que estudiar.
In order to know, one has to study.

13) Caminamos por el bosque.
We walk through the forest.

14) Caminamos para el parque.
We walk towards the park.

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