ACAPULCO SPANISH SCHOOL a place to get knowledge on this wonderful tongue

Sunday, December 20, 2009


"Para" -- in contrast, has relatively fewer uses.

Rule: to indicate destination
Model: El hombre salió para Madrid.
(The man left for Madrid.)

Rule: to show the use or purpose of a thing
Model: El vaso es para agua.
(The glass is for water.)

Rule: to mean "in order to" or "for the purpose of"
Model: Para hacer una paella, primero dore las carnes.
To make a paella, first sauté the meats.

Rule: to indicate a recipient
Model: Este regalo es para ti.
(This gift is for you.)

Rule: to express a deadline or specific time
Model: Necesito el vestido para el lunes.
(I need the dress by Monday.)

Rule: to express a contrast from what is expected
Model: Para un niño lee muy bien.
(For a child, he reads very well.)

Rule: "estar para" to express an action that will soon be completed
Model: El tren está para salir.
(The train is about to leave.)

It is quite important to learn to use these two prepositions correctly, because if you inadvertently substitute one for the other, you might end up saying something altogether different from what you had intended. Study the two examples:

Juan compró el regalo para María.
Juan bought the gift for Maria.
(he bought it to give to her)

Juan compró el regalo por María.
Juan bought the gift for Maria.
(he bought it because she could not)

"Por" and "para" can also be used in questions. "¿Por qué?" means "Why?" (for what reason) while "¿Para qué?" means "Why?" (for what purpose).

¿Por qué estudias español?
For what reason do you study Spanish?

Possible answer:

Porque es un requisito.
Because it's required.

¿Para qué estudias español?
For what purpose do you study Spanish?

Possible answer:

Para ser profesor de español.
In order to become a Spanish teacher.


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