“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.
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 consiguiente - consequently
Por desgracia - unfortunately
Por Dios - for god’s sake
Por eso/Por lo tanto - therefore
Por fin - finally, at last
Por la mañana/tarde/noche - in (during) the morning/afternoon/night)
Por lo visto - apparently
Por mi parte - as far as I am concerned
Por regla general - as a general rule
Por mi cuenta - to my way of thinking
Por todas las partes - everywhere
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:
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…
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.