Updated: Feb 24, 2021
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The difference between these two prepositions is difficult to understand for Spanish students. Today we are going to study each use extensively.
You can also check the video lesson and practice with a quiz at the end of the post.
1. Reason or cause: POR.
It translates as “because of” or “for”.
Cerraron las escuelas por la nieve - The schools closed because of the snow.
Te felicito por el trabajo que hiciste - I congratulate you for the work you did.
2. Purpose: PARA.
It translates as “to” or “in order to”
Uso lentes para ver mejor. - I wear glasses to see better.
Prendí el fuego para calentar la casa. - I lit the fire to heat the house.
3. When talking about location
“Through” or “across”: POR
El ladrón entró por la ventana. - The thief entered through the window.
Siempre camino a mi trabajo por esta calle. - I always walk to work on this street.
Approximate location: POR It translates as around, by.
La librería está por el centro. - The bookstore is in the center.
It translates as “to”
Este tren va para Madrid. - This train goes to Madrid.
4. When talking about time
Duration/ Length: POR
Estudié español por cinco años. - I studied Spanish for five years.
Term/ deadline: PARA
Tengo que terminar el trabajo para mañana. - I have to finish work for tomorrow.
5. When talking about people
Agent in a passive voice structure: POR It translates as “by”
El libro fue escrito por Gabriel García Márquez. - The book was writen by Gabriel García Márquez.
Addressee /beneficiary: PARA It translates as “for”
Este es el regalo para mi madre. - This is a gift for my mother.
Opinion: PARA It translates as “to me” or “in my opinion”
Para mi ese vestido te queda muy bien. - To me that dress fits you very well.
6. Communication method: POR
Hablamos por skype. - We talk on Skype.
Me llamó por teléfono. - He called me on the phone.
Now that you know the differences and uses of these important prepositions. I'd recommend writing down one sentence for each of the uses. You can also complete this short quiz to test your knowledge on how to use por and para.
Or if you need a more detailed explanation watch our tutor Carla explaining this topic in the video below.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments. Are ready to take your Spanish learning to the next level and achieve your fluency goal with a well-defined method, real-life scenario approach, and a guideline to succeed? Book a FREE Intro-Class with New Way to start learning Spanish the right way.