What's the difference between 'por' and 'para'?

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'Por' and 'para' convey very different meanings in Spanish and using one instead of the other can change the whole meaning of the phrase. For example:-

Trabaja para Carmen - She works for Carmen (i.e. Carmen is her boss)

Trabaja por Carmen - She's working in place of Carmen (i.e. she is performing Carmen's duties because Carmen can't make it into work today)

Uses for 'por':

-Expressing the cause (not the purpose) of an action: Me caí por la nieve. I fell down because of the snow.

-Expressing movement alongthrougharoundby or aboutAnduvimos por las calles de Jaén. We walked through the streets of Jaén.

-Expressing time or duration when something occurs. Viajamos por tres semanas. We're traveling for three weeks

-Meaning 'for' in the sense of supporting or in favor ofTrabajamos por derechos humanos. We work for human rights.

-Introducing the agent of an action after a passive verb: La novela fue escrito por Almudena Grandes. The novel was written by Almudena Grandes.

-Indicating means of transportationViajaré por avión. I will travel by plane.

 

Uses for 'para':

-Meaning for the purpose of or in order to: Hay que estudiar mucho para aprobar los exámenes. You have to study a lot in oder to pass the exams.

-With a noun or pronoun as object meaning for the benefit of or directed toEl regalo es para usted. The gift is for you.

-Meaning to or in the direction of when referring to a specific placeVoy para Europa. I'm heading to Europe.

-Meaning by or for when referring to a specific timeNecesito el coche para mañana. I need the car for tomorrow. Vamos a la casa de mi madre para el fin de semana. We're going to my mother's for the weekend.

Genevieve P. GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor

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is an online A Level Spanish tutor who tutored with MyTutor studying at Exeter University

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