POR vs PARA, motion and destination: Spanish prepositions (A2)

Looking at the differences between POR and PARA is one of the topics that worry most to students of Spanish as a foreign language.  This is probably because both, por and paracan mean “for” in English and cause quite a bit of confusion for non-native Spanish speakers. Nevertheless, notice that these two prepositions can be translated into Spanish, not only as “for,” but also as by, on, though, because of, in exchange for, in order to, and several other prepositions. So let’s start seeing POR vs PARA.

POR and PARA, Spanish prepositions

Some differences between POR and PARA

1. Basically, “POR” is used to express movement through time or space. This can be:

1.1 A physical transition such as traveling 

Viajé por América. (I traveled through America.)

1.2 An exchange of objects 

Pagué 50€ por este bolso. (I paid 50€ in exchange for this handbag.)

1.3 A duration of time

Tengo que trabajar por doce horas hoy. (I need to work for twelve hours today.)

1.4 A motivation/reason for doing something

Aprendí español por mi trabajo. (I learned Spanish because of my job.)

2. And “PARA” is generally used to convey destinations or endpoints. These can be:

2.1 Physical locations 

Salgo para Nueva York mañana. (I leave for New York tomorrow.)

2.2 People (recipients) 

Este regalo es para mi novia. (This gift is for my girlfriend.)

2.3 Deadlines

El jefe necesita el informe para mañana. (The boss needs the report for tomorrow.)

2.4 Goals 

Ahorra mucho para comprar una casa. (He saves a lot in order to buy a house.)

3. There are also many expressions that are used with por and para. Some of the most common are:

 para siempreforever por ejemplofor example 
para variarjust for a change por favorplease
para queso that/in order that por cientopercent
   por supuestoof course
   ¿por qué?why?
   por finfinally

POR vs PARA practice and quizzes

Now you practice everything you have learned  with the quiz below.  Remember to contact you tutor with any question you have about POR vs PARA.  Don’t you have any Spanish tutor yet?

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