Spanish Grammar - "Para" vs. "Por"

Spanish grammar lesson 6: prepositions "para" vs. "por"

It does take some effort at first to be able to use these words correctly. Since they both can frequently be translated as "for," knowing which one to use in a given context takes practice.

Exercise: Read carefully, listen to, and repeat aloud the following examples.


- Explanation of purpose or intention

Este intrumento es para la cirugía.

(This instrument is for the surgery.)

Es necesario que permanezca en ayunas para no alterar los resultados del estudio.

(It is necessary that you remain fasting so as not to alter the results of the study.)

Necesita alimentarse mejor antes de la operación para poder tener una buena cicatrización postoperatoria.

(You need to eat better before the operation in order to be able to have good postoperative healing.)

- Going in a direction to a place

Salió para el hospital.

(He left for the hospital.)

Este ascensor va para el piso 8 directamente.

(This elevator goes directly to floor 8.)

- For (as when something is meant for a person)

Estas medicinas son para la paciente de la habitación cinco.

(These medicines are for the patient in room five.)

¡Para mí, este ejercicio es muy difícil!

(For me, this exercise is very difficult!)

- In certain time phrases, such as for a due date

Este resultado debe estar listo para mañana.

(This result must be ready by tomorrow.)

El día de la operación está fijado para el viernes de la próxima semana.

(The day of the operation is set for Friday next week.)

- When comparing (such as a quality of something to the expected result)

Su hija se comunica bien para su edad.

(Your daughter communicates well for her age.)




- To pass by, through, along

Vamos a pasar por la unidad de cuidados intensivos.

(We are going to pass through the intensive care unit.)

Estábamos caminando por la acera cuando vimos el accidente.

(We were walking along the sidewalk when we saw the accident.)

- By means of

Vamos a viajar por avión.

(We are are going to travel by plane.)

Discutamos el caso por teléfono.

(Let's discuss the case by telephone.)

- In place of another

La substituta va a venir mañana por.

(The substitute is going to come tomorrow instead of me.)

- For a cause or motive

Tomó el agua del arroyo por necesidad.

(He drank the water from the stream out of necessity.)

Le colocaron sangre por la hemorragia.

(They gave him blood because of the hemorrhage.)

Estoy enfermo por jugar bajo la lluvia.

(I am sick as a result of playing in the rain.)

- To go and get, pick up someone, etc.

Voy a pasar por tí cuando termines.

(I am going to pass by to pick you up when you finish.)

Fueron por leña.

(They went to get firewood.)

- When paying for something

Pagué cien dólares por la consulta con el especialista.

(I paid one hundred dollars for the consultation with the specialist.)

- When indicating a time period, or during a part of the day

Debe usar muletas por dos semanas.

(You must use crutches for two weeks.)

Le harán la resonancia mañana por la mañana.

(They will do your MRI tomorrow in the morning.)

- "Per"

Este efecto secundario ocurre en un dos por ciento de los pacientes.

(This side effect occurs in two percent of the patients.)

- "By" (using passive voice)

Este artículo fue escrito por los mejores investigadores.

(This article was written by the best researchers.)


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