Por vs Para
Language Resources

One issue in Spanish that causes a lot of confusion is "por vs para". Both mean "for" in English, but they are not interchangeable. To know whether to use por or para, you basically have to think about what purpose the it will be serving. Below you will find the rules and uses for using por and for using para.

"POR" - Rules, Uses & Examples

In Spanish, we use the word "por" in the following ways:

  • to express movement along, through, around, by or about
    Example: Dimos una vuelta por la ciudad. (We took a walk through the city.)
  • to indicate some sort of exchange
    Gracias por el regalo. (Thank you for the present.)
    Te doy 20 euros por el collar. (I'll give you 20 euros for the necklace.)
  • to indicate a time or duration when something occurs
    Example: Me gusta tomar un café por la mañana. (I like to have a coffee in the morning.)
  • to express the cause or reason for an action
    Example: Se engordó por falta de ejercicio. (He got fat for lack of exercise.)
  • to mean "in favor of", "on behalf of", "supporting"
    Example: Apuesta por el candidato demócrata. He supports the democratic candidate.
  • to express a means of communication or transportation
    Example: Habló con su abuela por teléfono. (She spoke with her grandmother on the phone.)
  • to express a general time, meaning "during"
    Example: Me gusta tomar un café por la mañana. (I like to have a coffee in the morning.)
  • "estar por" meaning to be in the mood or inclined to do something
    Example: Estoy por ir al cine. (I'm in the mood for going to the movies.)

"PARA" - Rules, Uses & Examples

In Spanish, we use the word "para" in the following ways:

  • to indicate destination
    Example: Voy para Nueva York. (I'm leaving for New York.)
  • to indicate an object's use or purpose
    Example: El plato es para la hamburguesa. (The plate is for the hamburger.)
  • to mean "in order to" or "for the purpose of"
    Example: Para hacer la tarta, hace falta 2 huevos. (To make the cake, you need 2 eggs)
  • to indicate a recipient or beneficiary
    Example: Este libro es para mi padre. (This book is for my father.)
  • to express a deadline or specific time
    Example: Mi ensayo es para el viernes. (My essay is due on Friday.)
  • "estar para" to express an action that is about to be completed
    Example: Estamos para salir. (We are about to go out.)