An Intermediate’s Guide to Por versus Para [+30 Examples & Quiz]

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In this Spanish grammar lesson, you will learn about por versus para.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • por versus para
  • how por versus para are used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on por versus para
  • how you can practice with flashcards on por versus para
  • how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn Spanish

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about por versus para!

Table of Contents

How to Use Por

Here are 6 important ways in which por is used in Spanish!

Use Por to Indicate Which Way/Channel/Medium You Use

You can use por to indicate which way/channel/medium you use.

Here are some examples:

Mis abuelos hablaban por carta cuando eran jóvenes.

My grandparents talked by letter when they were young.

Ismael fue hasta París por autobús.

Ismael went to Paris by bus.

La doctora nos dijo que nos llamaría por teléfono para decirnos los resultados de la prueba.

The doctor told us that she would phone us to tell us the results of the test.

When you are referring to transportation the preposition en is also fine.

However, with the verbs ir (to go) and viajar (to travel) en tends to be used, and with enviar (to send) por tends to be used.

Vicente viajará en avión hasta Singapur.

Vincent will fly to Singapore.

Vicente irá en avión hasta Singapur.

Vincent will fly to Singapore.

Vicente preferiría enviar a su perro por barco.

Vincent would prefer to send his dog by ship.

Use Por to Say Each/For Each/Per

You can use por to say each/for each/per.

En esta comunidad pagamos 50 euros al mes por vecino.

In this condominium we pay 50 euros monthly per neighbour.

Hemos comprado la bebida para esta noche. Son 10 euros por pareja.

We have bought the drinks for tonight. It’s 10 euros per couple.

En ese hospital suele haber dos enfermeras por paciente.

In that hospital there are usually two nurses per patient.

Use Por to Express A Trade or an Exchange

You can use por to express a trade or an exchange.

Voy a cambiar esta camiseta por otra de otro color.

I’m going to exchange this T-shirt for another colour.

¿Qué me das por mi altavoz?

What do you give me (in exchange) for my loudspeaker?

Use Por to Mention Speed

You can use por to mention speed.

Esta máquina fabrica diez piezas por minuto.

This machine produces ten pieces per minute.

Este barco avanza unas doscientas millas por hora.

This ship is moving about two hundred miles per hour.

Use Por to Talk About The Price of Something

You can use por to talk about the price of something.

Al final venderemos el coche por la mitad de precio.

In the end we will sell the car for half the price.

Goya vendió su primer cuadro por un precio realmente bajo.

Goya sold his first painting for a very low price.

Mi abuela ha vendido su casa por casi 200.000 euros.

My grandmother has sold her house for almost 200,000 euros.

Quiero comprarme un televisor por menos de 200 euros.

I want to buy a TV for less than 200 euros.

Use Por to Say By Who/By Whom

You can use por to say by who/by whom

Esta carta fue escrita por mi abuelo en los 60.

This letter was written by my grandfather in the 1960s.

El antiguo conserje era querido por todos los alumnos y profesores del centro.

The former caretaker was loved by all students and teachers at the school.

El asaltante fue identificado por los testigos que se encontraban en la zona.

The perpetrator was identified by witnesses who were in the area.

Generally, por is following an adjective that is in the form of a participle.

El silencio fue interrumpido por el relajante sonido de las olas del mar.

The silence was interrupted by the soothing sound of the waves of the sea.

Salimos corriendo asustados por los ladridos de los perros.

We ran away frightened by the barking dogs.

Terminamos dormidos en el sofá por el cansancio tan grande que teníamos.

We ended up falling asleep on the sofa because we were so tired.

Mi madre fue a esa clínica dental, recomendada por una amiga suya.

My mother went to this dental clinic, recommended by a friend of hers.

How to Use Para

Here is 1 important way in which para can be used in Spanish!

Use Para to Express Exact Time Locations

You can use para to express exact time locations.

Here are some examples:

Acaba de llamar Juan. Dice que llegará para la cena.

Juan just called. He says he’ll be here for dinner.

Hemos alquilado una casa rural para Fin de Año.

We have rented a cottage for New Year’s Eve.

Marta y Fran han pedido que todos nos vistamos de blanco para su boda.

Marta and Fran have asked us all to wear white for their wedding.

Please have a look at two sentences that are almost identical. The only difference is por versus para.

He venido a Madrid por la entrevista.

I came to Madrid for the interview. [the reason that you came to Madrid was for the interview]

He venido a Madrid para la entrevista.

I came to Madrid for the interview. [you came to Madrid on the day of the interview]

If you use por, it means that the reason that you came to Madrid was for the interview.

If you use para it means that you came to Madrid on the day of the interview.

Example Sentences on Por versus Para

This section of the lesson on por versus para is about seeing the prepositions used in sentences.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of por versus para through examples.

Mis abuelos hablaban por carta cuando eran jóvenes.

My grandparents talked by letter when they were young.

Ismael fue hasta París por autobús.

Ismael went to Paris by bus.

La doctora nos dijo que nos llamaría por teléfono para decirnos los resultados de la prueba.

The doctor told us that she would phone us to tell us the results of the test.

Vicente viajará en avión hasta Singapur.

Vincent will fly to Singapore.

Vicente irá en avión hasta Singapur.

Vincent will fly to Singapore.

Vicente preferiría enviar a su perro por barco.

Vincent would prefer to send his dog by ship.

En esta comunidad pagamos 50 euros al mes por vecino.

In this condominium we pay 50 euros monthly per neighbour.

Hemos comprado la bebida para esta noche. Son 10 euros por pareja.

We have bought the drinks for tonight. It’s 10 euros per couple.

En ese hospital suele haber dos enfermeras por paciente.

In that hospital there are usually two nurses per patient.

Voy a cambiar esta camiseta por otra de otro color.

I’m going to exchange this T-shirt for another colour.

¿Qué me das por mi altavoz?

What do you give me (in exchange) for my loudspeaker?

Esta máquina fabrica diez piezas por minuto.

This machine produces ten pieces per minute.

Este barco avanza unas doscientas millas por hora.

This ship is moving about two hundred miles per hour.

Al final venderemos el coche por la mitad de precio.

In the end we will sell the car for half the price.

Goya vendió su primer cuadro por un precio realmente bajo.

Goya sold his first painting for a very low price.

Mi abuela ha vendido su casa por casi 200.000 euros.

My grandmother has sold her house for almost 200,000 euros.

Quiero comprarme un televisor por menos de 200 euros.

I want to buy a TV for less than 200 euros.

Esta carta fue escrita por mi abuelo en los 60.

This letter was written by my grandfather in the 1960s.

El antiguo conserje era querido por todos los alumnos y profesores del centro.

The former caretaker was loved by all students and teachers at the school.

El asaltante fue identificado por los testigos que se encontraban en la zona.

The perpetrator was identified by witnesses who were in the area.

El silencio fue interrumpido por el relajante sonido de las olas del mar.

The silence was interrupted by the soothing sound of the waves of the sea.

Salimos corriendo asustados por los ladridos de los perros.

We ran away frightened by the barking dogs.

Terminamos dormidos en el sofá por el cansancio tan grande que teníamos.

We ended up falling asleep on the sofa because we were so tired.

Mi madre fue a esa clínica dental, recomendada por una amiga suya.

My mother went to this dental clinic, recommended by a friend of hers.

Acaba de llamar Juan. Dice que llegará para la cena.

Juan just called. He says he’ll be here for dinner.

Hemos alquilado una casa rural para Fin de Año.

We have rented a cottage for New Year’s Eve.

Marta y Fran han pedido que todos nos vistamos de blanco para su boda.

Marta and Fran have asked us all to wear white for their wedding.

He venido a Madrid por la entrevista.

I came to Madrid for the interview. [the reason that you came to Madrid was for the interview]

He venido a Madrid para la entrevista.

I came to Madrid for the interview. [you came to Madrid on the day of the interview]

Quiz Yourself on Por versus Para

At the end of every lesson, you can do a small quiz.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

How to Practice With Flashcards for This Lesson

Using flashcards is an absolute necessity when it comes to learning a language!

It is the best way to memorize what you learn, you can personalize your progression because it adapts to your actions, and all flashcards have audio to improve your hearing and pronunciation.

Please read our article on how to learn a new language for more information on flashcards and the best way to learn a new language.

There are two ways to practice with Flashcards for this lesson.

  1. Anki
  2. The Flashcards in our Courses

Anki is a free software with which you can create and practice flashcards.

After you have downloaded Anki for free, you can get our Spanish B1 Anki Deck.

This Anki Deck contains 2,052 flashcards with which you can practice absolutely everything for Spanish B1.

All the flashcards have text, images, explanations, and audio.

You can also use our courses that have flashcards integrated alongside lessons with audio, quizzes and much more!

However, I am sure you are wondering, what are your courses, and why should I take them?

The Courses of Language Atlas

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