Spanish “Por” Vs. “Para” – Learn the Difference

Spanish Por vs Para

Wellcome to our grammar lesson about Por vs. Para in Spanish.

The distinction between Spanish prepositions “por” and “para” represents a challenge for Spanish learners, because of two reasons:

  • They look rather similar, and sometimes their meanings are also similar.
  • But they are 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 for practice.

1. Uses of “Por”

Use por in the following cases:

Expressing Causality (meaning “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.

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.

Other Phrases that include “Por”:

  • por favor = please
  • por supuesto = of course
  • por ciento = percent
  • por hora = per hour
  • 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

2. Uses of “Para”

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 to stay fit, 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 them”), Iberian ham is sacred.

Learn more about giving your opinion in Spanish!

Indicating the Recipient of an action (meaning “directed to”)

Esta carta es para ti.
This letter is for you (directed to you, you are the recipient).

Los caramelos son para los niños.
The candies are for the children (directed to them, they are the recipient).

Expressing Destination (meaning “towards”)

Vamos para Francia.
We are going “towards” France (France is the destination)

Other Phrases that include “Para”:

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

3. Practice “Por” Vs. “Para”


Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about “Por” vs “Para”:

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