Spanish “Por” vs “Para” – Learn to choose and practice!

Spanish Por vs Para, Learn to Choose and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about por vs para in Spanish, where we will learn how to choose between these prepositions.

Understanding the different uses of “por” and “para” can be challenging for Spanish learners. Each preposition is used in different types of sentences.

In this lesson we will explain the most frequent uses of both prepositions, providing example sentences.

At the you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

Main uses of “por”

We use por in the following cases:

Expressing Causality (meaning “because of”)

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

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

Expressing Path (meaning “through, along”)

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.

Expressing Exchange (meaning “in exchange for”)

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

Main uses of “para”

We use para in the following cases:

Expressing Goal, Intention, Purpose (meaning “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 stay in shape, the key is to exercise.

Expressing Opinion (meaning “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 Spaniards (“according to Spaniards”), Iberian ham is sacred.

Learn more about giving your opinion in Spanish!

Indicating the Receiver of an action

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).

Expressing Destination (meaning “towards, to”)

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

Other Phrases including “por” and “para”

Apart from the main uses that we have learned, there are many useful phrases that include “por” or “para”.

The Spanish student can learn these phrases by heart, without thinking much about why we use one preposition or the other:

Phrases including “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 including “Para”:

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

Practice Spanish “por” vs “para”

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about “por” vs “para”:

Exercise

Complete the following sentences in your mind or on a piece of paper, choosing between “por” and “para”. Then check the solutions below:

1) ______ ti, ¿quién es el mejor jugador de baloncesto?
To you, who’s the best basketball player?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solutions:
1) Para
2) por
3) para
4) Para
5) por
6) por
7) para