Por” and “para” is one of the eternal dilemmas in learning Spanish learning (aside from “ser” and “estar”, of course)!


That is why I thought today it was time to explain about “por” and “para”, do not panic! I am going to make it real simple, I am not going to give you all the uses, you can read a textbook and it won’t make a difference. I am just going to explain to you on expressions with “por” and “para”, that means, you do not need to try and make sense of them, as these are fixed expressions; as in, they always contain “por” or “para”. I think this would be useful so at the very least in certain occasions, when using these expressions, you will be sure you got it right.


So that sounds like a plan, let’s do this.



Expressions with “para”


Para”, this is usually more used among learners, and that’s funny because I think its use is less common. Let’s start with some easy ones.


1. No estar para bromas – Not in the mood for jokes


If you did not have a good day, because work was busy, or any other reason, and someone tries to pull your leg or make a joke that you do not think is funny you will warn them:


  • Tengo un día horrible y no estoy para bromas.
  • I had an awful day and I am not in the mood for jokes.



2. No ser para tanto – Not so bad


If one of your friend’s tells a story about how embarrassing a moment was like if it was the end of the world and you do not think it’s that bad, you could cheer your friend up by saying:


  • No te preocupes, no es para tanto, estoy segura de que nadie se acordará en unos días. 
  • Do not worry, it is not that bad, I am sure nobody will remember in a few days.



3. Para con – Towards (a person)


It is a bit of an old example, imagine that the new mayor of the city has done a lot to help the youth in the city. You will say:


  • El nuevo alcalde es muy bueno para con los jóvenes, hace mucho por ellos. 
  • The new mayor is really good towards young people, he does a lot for them.



4. Para siempre – Forever


Typical…you and your best friend are together… “para siempre” (forever).


What did I tell you? Not that hard right?



Let’s go now with “por” expressions


Por” is a bit more complex, and it has more expressions. I am confident that most of the expressions using “por” you will be familiar with, like “por favor”, “por supuesto”…but here you can find some more:


  • Por aquí - this way
  • Por avión - air mail
  • Por consiguiente - consequently
  • Por desgracia - unfortunately
  • Por Dios - for god’s sake
  • Por eso/Por lo tanto - therefore
  • Por escrito - by writing
  • Por favor - please
  • Por fin - finally, at last
  • Por la mañana/tarde/noche - in (during) the morning/afternoon/night)
  • Por lo menos - at least
  • Por lo visto - apparently
  • Por mi parte - as far as I am concerned
  • Por poco - almost/nearly
  • Por regla general - as a general rule
  • Por mi cuenta - to my way of thinking
  • Por supuesto - of course
  • Por todas las partes - everywhere
  • Al por mayor - wholesale
  • Al por menor - retail


EXTRA: Have you heard about phrasal verbs? They are verbs that change in meaning when paired with a preposition. Surprise! “Por” has the power to do this too, so I thought a few phrasal verbs with the preposition “por” would be no harm:



1. Acabar por – To end up


  • Quería acabar todos mis deberes de español pero al final acabé por limpiar el piso. 
  • I wanted to finish all my Spanish homework but I ended up cleaning the flat.



2. Dar por hecho – To consider something to be done


If a friend asks you for a favour and you are going to do it, you could agree by saying:


  • Dalo por hecho. 
  • Consider it done.



3. Tomar por – To take someone for / by


If someone asks you to do something you will never do, like if someone asks me to try bungee jumping, I will say…


  • ¿Me tomas por loca? 
  • Do you take for a mad person?



4. Pasar por – To be considered


If you are going to a party but unsure if they will let you in, but you are with a big group of people and you kind of camouflage among the group, you can later explain.


  • No estaba segura de que me dejaran entrar en la fiesta, pero encontré un grupo grande y pasé por una de ellos. 
  • I was unsure if they would let me in to the party but I found a big group and I was considered one of them.



5. Interesarse por – To take an interest in


If you took up a new hobby, you can explain it as:


  • Estoy empezando a interesarme por el arte moderno. 
  • I am starting to take an interest in modern art.


I think this is enough for today, you have a few things to think about, so just before I leave you…let me know if you know any other expression using “por” or “para”.


Have a good one, I will speak to you soon.




Hero image by MCML ➖XXXIII (steal my _ _ art) on Unsplash