Differences between ‘’por’’
and ‘’para’’ , these prepositions are one of the most difficult things
to get right for a foreigner, the truth it’s my pals, that they are indeed hard
to distinguish. But don’t feel bad about it, if you ask a native speaker what’s
the difference between those two, they won’t even know what to answer, so in
this post I’ll give it a shot.
Roughly translated, the two
correspond to the English ‘’for’’ and that is what mainly causes confusions.
most common and important difference is that ‘’por’’ is used to explain
the cause or reason of something and ‘’para’’ is generally used to
explain an aim, objective or purpose:
‘’Vine a Argentina por mi familia’’ – I came to Argentina because of my
crecen por la falta de arboles’’ – The floods become frequent because of
the lack of trees.
‘’No salieron de su casa
por el temor que le tienen a los ladrones’’ – They didn’t leave their house
because of their fear towards bandits.
‘’Compré este regalo para ti’’ – I bought this present for you.
‘’Cerraron la ventana
para que no entre viento’’ – They closed the window so the wind couldn’t
‘’Traje esta heladerita
para guardar las cervezas ‘’ – I brought this fridge to save the beers
Do you see now? The main
difference is quite clear I think, meanwhile, in each three sentences of the
beginning, ‘’por’’ is used to explain the REASON of the events (the
reason I visited Argentina is my family, the reason floods are growing in
number is the lack of trees, the reason they don’t go out of their house is the
fear towards thieves), and ‘’para’’ is used to explain the OBJECTIVE of
your action (I bought this present with the aim of giving it to you, they
closed the window with the aim of not allowing wind to keep coming in, I
brought this little fridge with the aim of keeping beers cool).
You can’t obviously mix
cause with aim, because you’ll get a semantic and interpretative mess:
*Las inundaciones crecen
para la falta de arboles – Notice how important it is to consider the subject with ‘’para’’. You see, sintactically speaking,
‘’para’’ in this function introduces
an INDIRECT OBJECT, this can be represented as ‘’x did y for z’’, so there is
someone who does something PARA someone, in these situations the indirect
Now let’s see the other functions, separate, starting with por:
Amount of time:
You can use ‘’por’’
to express the amount of seconds, minutes, hours, days and other time units
which took you to do the action (or will take, or usually takes you):
-‘’Voy como estudiante
de intercambio a Alemania por tres años’’ – I’m going to Germany as an
exchange student for three years.
-‘’Trabajé en Rumania
por tres años’’ – I worked in Romania for three years.
-‘’Vengo aquí todos los veranos por vacaciones’’ – I came here every
summer for vacations. (This
one has the two values: the reason of coming and the period of time, your
As locative, you may use ‘’por’’
to talk about a place or an object and you are not 100% sure about their
location, the doubt it’s inside the semantics of this function:
-‘’No encuentro mis
lentes, estaban por aquí’’ (I can’t find my glasses, they were around here)
-‘’Creo que la casa
estaba por este barrio’’ (I think that the house was around this
-‘’Sandrá está caminando
por la arbolada’’ (Sandra is walking through the woods)
-‘’El hospital queda por
Mitre’’ (The hospital is around Mitre st.)
As you see, in each example
‘’por’’ express location, in the first example, we are searching our
glasses (in our room, idk) and we know that they are there, but we don’t know
where specifically, they are just somewhere in our room. In the second example,
we know the house is in that neighborhood, but where precisely? In the corner
of the street? Or in the middle of it? We don’t know…
In the third example we
know that Sandra is doing that: walk, and we know she’s walking through the
woods, she told us that before leaving, but in which part of the woods? Deep in
the woods? Right at the edge? Through the road? We don’t have telepathic
powers, so we don’t know precisely. The same happens with the last example,
which is more frequent in the argentinian variety of Spanish, we know there is
x hospital by the Mitre street, that’s the important thing, I don’t need to
tell you if the hospital lies next to a market or to a gay club, it’s just
there in Mitre street.
-‘’Te cambio este reloj por tu perro’’ (I’ll trade with you this watch
for your dog)
-‘’Cambió a sus amigas
por su novio’’ (She changed her friends for his boyfriend)
Not too much to say about
this function, is mostly used in trading contexts, as the first example
depicts. The ‘’por’’ always is placed between the things that are
getting traded (x por x).
-‘’Viajaré a Alemania
por avión, no por barco’’ (I’ll travel to Germany by plane, not by ship)
-‘’Mándame los resultados por Facebook’’ (Send me the results via
‘’Por’’ is also used
to express the media, via or way you travel or do some actions.
-‘’Vendo un kilo de naranjas por 30 pesos’’ (I’m selling a kilo of
oranges at 30 bucks)
“Vendo este auto por 2000 euros’’ (I’m selling this car at 2000 euros)
Actually, in matters of
prices and selling, the preposition used to introduce the price may be either
‘’por’’, or it can also be ‘’a’’ (Te
vendo este auto a 2000 euros).
-‘’Una vez por turno, puedes robar una carta’’
(Once per turn, you can draw a card)
-‘’La pizza cuesta 50 pesos por
persona’’ (The pizza costs 50 bucks a person)
-‘’Es un caramelo por niño’’ (It is a candy for each kid)
‘’Por’’ introduces in these cases the measure of distribution, in the
second example you are stating that 50 pesos shall be paid by each person
to Wikipedia, the voice ‘’(…)describes the relationship between the action
(or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its
arguments (subject, object, etc.). When the subject is the agent or doer of the
action, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is the patient,
target or undergoer of the action, the verb is said to be in the passive voice.’’
According to that
paragraph, if we have a sentence like ‘’La
policía persiguió a Pepe’’ (The police chased Pepe), we will find out it is
in the active voice, since we clearly see an agent, a doer of the action, which
is the police.
The passive voice of this
verb would modify it’s relationship with the parts of the sentence, thus, the
object (Pepe) would become the subject… but not as an agent. You see, this is
the particular thing with the voice change, the passive voice, at least in
Spanish and English, doesn’t only imply a syntactical change, but also
semantical: The subject isn’t an agent anymore, but a PACIENT. This is, the
subject, instead of doing the action, will be AFECTED by it:
-‘’Pepe (subject) fue perseguido por la policía’’ (Agentive
-Pepe was chased by the
‘’Por’’, in the passive voice, introduces a compliment, known as ‘’Agentive
compliment’’ or ‘’Complemento agente’’,
which, as the name points out, introduces the doer of the action.
Soon to do an action.
This is not too important,
because it’s informal and it can also be replaced by ‘’a punto de’’. It must be always used combined with the auxiliary ‘’estar’’.
-‘’Estoy por limpiar la mesa / Estoy a
punto de limpiar la mesa’’ (I’m about to clean the table)
-‘’La anaconda está por matarme / La
anaconda está a punto de matarme’’ (The anaconda is about to kill me)
Para – Objective.
Now we’ll describe ‘’Para’’ and its functions, the most
important use of ‘’para’’ has to do
with the objective of an action, not the reason that causes the action, but
rather, the reason you are aiming to reach with your action, basically, your
goal. This first function may be easily translated to English as ‘’in order
to’’, in German and Dutch, ‘’um (…) zu’’ and ‘’om (…) te’’ respectively.
-‘’Voy a ir a Suecia para estudiar sueco’’ (I’m going to Sweden in
order to study Swedish)
-‘’Ryckhard usaba su espada para matar dragones’’ (Ryckhard used his
sword to kill dragons)
-‘’Compré torta para comer esta tarde’’ (I bought cake in order to eat
it this evening)
There is a function that is
pretty similar to these one, it differs because it involves movement, I call it
‘’destiny’’ because there is a
receiver of a thing you are transporting:
‘’Llevo esta caja de bombones para mi
novia’’ (I’m taking this chocolate box to my girlfriend’s)
‘’Esta nota es para el correo’’
(This note is for the mail)
‘’Traigo este regalo para Nico’’ (I
bring this gift for Nico)
See how the each sentence
has a verb that implies movement? (To take, to bring) Except for the second
one, in which the verb is hidden. These sentence describe a movement towards
someone who is a receiver (an indirect
object), represented in the sentence by ‘’para (…)’’ that will get that x
thing (the direct object) that you
End of a term.
‘’Para’’ has a temporal function too, it is used to establish a limit
or end to a given period of time, we are obviously talking about a term
established for an essay, a document, a homework, or some task that we are
asked to do… or we ask someone else to do. For example, your teacher gives you
some homework, and it has to be done for tomorrow (para mañana)
-‘’Necesito que hagan esta tarea para mañana (I need you to do this
homework for tomorrow)
-‘’Quieroque me traigas el
informe para mañana’’ (I want you to bring me the report for tomorrow)
In this case, ‘’para’’ express the direction towards x
place your going to, it would be like the Dutch ‘’naartoe’’. Also, expressing direction using ‘’para’’ is pretty informal, in more formal contexts, ‘’a’’ is used.
-‘’En quince minutos, salgo para tu casa’’ (In fifteen minutes, I’m
going to your house)
-‘’Me voy para Alemania’’ (I’m going to Germany)
In this case, ‘’para’’ introduces someone who has an
opinion, most of the times, this clause stays away from the rest of the
sentence, you’ll see many times at the beginning of the sentence, but it also
may be placed in other positions, ALWAYS, between comas (not at the beginning,
-‘’Para Pepe, el partido de Argentina
estaba arreglado ‘’(Acording to Pepe, Argentina’s match was fixed)
-‘’Para mí, estás hablando pura mierda’’
(To me, you are just speaking pure bullcrap)
-‘’Los bordes eran, para María, muy
filosos’’ (The edges were, acording to Maria, to Sharp)
You see how the two first
sentences have that ‘’para’’ clause
at the beginning and in the third one, in the middle of the sentence, totally
isolated from the rest of the sentence in each example.
The temporal function of
para is to point out an exact moment in time, it can be used to refer either
past or future events, but almost never to refer to present events.
-‘’Para navidad, fuimos de mi abuelo’’ (On Christmas, we visited my
-‘’Se crearán 900 [novecientas] escuelas para el año que viene’’ (900
schools will be created for the next year)
-‘’Mis amigos vienen para mi cumpleaños’’ (My friends are coming for
Okay people, I think these
are the most important ones, there may be a couple not so relevant that are
missing, but I may talk about them in other post, the most important ones are
here… I hope it helped because I noticed there are many people that struggle with
these two prepositions that clearly are sons of a huge and naughty bitch.
‘ntill the next post,
greetings qts! Hasta la próximaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Request: Can you do a smut where Shawns on tour and him and his girlfriend traditionally have post-concert sex but she hasn’t been with him for the last few concerts so she surprises him after a concert and they have rough/passionate sex in the dressing room
Word count: 2,825
it’s y/n” I said, after pressing on Geoff’s number on my phone.
you land already?”
on my way to the venue now, I’ll take a couple hours though”
you’ll surprise Shawn after the concert” Geoff told me, which made me smile
Castiel sat in the kitchen at the Bunker and stared at the wall.
It was the middle of the night.
He could hear spiders at the threshold, the low tone of the Bunker’s demon warding, the cycling of the refrigerator as it cooled beer (and, for some reason, a tonne of pickle jars Sam had recently purchased). He could sense the cold rain of a storm yet four miles off, and the flutter of Dean’s pulse at his throat as he lay sleeping.
Cas tried, as so often, to turn his thoughts away from contemplation of that particular somnolent soul, breathing in its case of bone. He did not want to be intrusive.
He tuned in and out of the chatter on angel radio. News of Ishim’s crime was causing shock-waves in Heaven. Here and there, he heard his own name uttered in the same breath, and he flushed across all four of his seraphic faces.
The thing is, Jace is a perceptive person. Had to be in his line of work and all his of his training demanded it: know your enemy, know your surroundings, be ready for any scenario.
So, yeah. Considering the amount of times this skill has saved his and that of the people under his charge, he’d say he’s quite perceptive. Which is why is the whole Simon situation disturbed him so much.
At first it’d seemed pretty normal. Simon was hanging around the Institute every other day, looming over them and asking all sorts of pointless questions. In other words, pretty standard Simon Behavior. At the time Jace just assumed it had something to do with Clary.
And it’s Simon, so to say he was acting weird was like stating the obvious, but this was a brand new kind of strange. For example, one morning he and Clary were sparring and Jace knocked the feet from under her. Simon literally clapped and cheered.
It was two weeks before he realized Simon was standing around him even when she wasn’t there.
“So, uh,” Simon had said, leaning over the table a crooked smile on his face. “What does this thing do?”
Jace frowned at him, looking up from the blueprints he’d been analyzing. “That’s a knife. It cuts people?”
Simon threw him honest-to-god finger guns. “Right. Savage.”
Jace nodded at him, impatient, and got back to work.