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Why learning the correct use of “por” and “para”?

Can you explain the difference between these two sentences? If you can, you’re probably ready for our ultimate “Por vs Para Quiz”!

Julio compró el regalo para su madre.

Julio compró el regalo por su madre.

The correct use of “por” and “para” isn’t that easy. Sometimes the same sentence can have a different meaning only by changing “por” against “para.”

In the first sentence, it means that Juan bought a gift FOR his mum (para). The use of “por” in the second sentence implies that Julio purchased the gift for Maria because she didn’t have time to buy it or recommended it to him to buy it.

You see: The use of the Spanish prepositions “por” and “para” is not that easy. But don’t worry, after reading this post and successfully finishing our “Por vs Para Quiz,” you will be an expert. But you should at least have an intermediate Spanish level to try the quiz.

If you want to skip the theory part, scroll down or click here to start the “Por vs Para Quiz”.

Por vs Para: Video Summary with Mónica

If you don’t feel ready to do our “Por vs Para Quiz” yet, you should look at this Mónica’s Youtube-Video. Mónica is our virtual Spanish teacher and we think she did a great job explaning “por vs para” in her video.

Por vs. Para: The general difference

Before trying our “Por Vs. Para-Quiz,” we want to give you an idea about how to use it correctly.

The two Spanish prepositionspor and para, are usually used for the English word “for.”

To provide you with a general idea about how to use “por” and “para” correctly, you should look at the following two graphics:

por vs para quiz

It’s a good summary of the general idea when to us “por” and “para.” Remember that you use “por” to explain cause or reason why an action is being performed, while “para” usually refers to the purpose, result or aim of something. Let us give you a quick overview:

Por vs para: How and when to use it?

Use “para” if you:


talk about the purpose or aim of an action or a thing

¿Para que has venido a El Salvador?

El vaso es para cerveza.


referring to a specific time

Necesito el carro reparado para mañana.


indicate a destination

Chepe salió para San Salvador.


express a contrast from what is expected

Para un niño de 5 años toca muy bien el piano.


mean “in order to” or “for the purpose of”

Para hacer pupusas, se necesita la masa, frijoles y queso.

Use “por” if you:


talk about reasons or motivations for doing something

Trabajo por ella, porque necesita el dinero.

Trabaja en este proyecto por su amor para los niños.


denoting a time or duration when an action occurs

Viajamos por dos semanas en El salvador.


talk about the way you travel or communicate

Te mando los papeles por correo.

¿Quieres viajar por bus?


express gratitude or apology

Gracias por tu amistad.

Perdón por ser tan celoso.

The ultimate “Por vs Para Quiz”

Are you ready to take the ultimate “Por vs Para Quiz-Challenge”? Then click “Start Quiz”!

If you liked this post, please feel free to share it and/or leave a comment:

por vs para quiz
Por vs Para quiz
por vs para quiz

Learn Spanish with Mónica

Learn Spanish with Mónica on our YouTube-channel. Watch her free online learning videos about the essential topics of Spanish grammar and vocabulary for beginners¡ ¡Vámonos!


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