• Emma Corbet

Understanding the Differences Between "por" and "para" in Spanish


If you Google search "por vs. para" you are bound to come up with a ton of articles trying to explain these words because they are so commonly confused. In a funny way it made me feel better to know I wasn't alone. So thanks for that, Internet!


These two little prepositions can be confusing for language learners because they are used in so many different situations (like the way we use the word "for" in English).


I put together a printable guide explaining how these words are used and some common expressions for each of them.

Download it here for free!




The way these two words can be used in so many ways reminds me of something important. Language is imperfect and beautiful. It's not always black and white, right and wrong. Below is a traditional rhyme that can be sung using either "por" or "para" in the lyrics.


USING "POR"

Sol solecito

caliéntame un poquito

por hoy por mañana

por toda la semana

¡Lunes! ¡Martes! ¡Miércoles! ¡Jueves! ¡Viernes! ¡Sábado! y ¡Domingo!


USING "PARA"

Sol solecito

caliéntame un poquito

para hoy para mañana

para toda la semana

¡Lunes! ¡Martes! ¡Miércoles! ¡Jueves! ¡Viernes! ¡Sábado! y ¡Domingo!


Initially, I thought one rhyme must be incorrectly using "por" or "para." Here's the thing: after conversations with native speakers from two different countries I came to the conclusion that both are right. A native speaker from Mexico learned this rhyme written the first way and feels "por" is correct, while a native speaker living in Spain, sings it with "para" and wouldn't use "por" in this case. How fascinating!


Another note: "solecito" can be replaced with "solito" in this rhyme and it is equally correct to sing it that way too!


All of that said, this is one of the easiest little rhymes to learn and memorize. It has caught on so quickly with my whole family, we adore it! My kids and I chant it back and forth to each other randomly now, at the dinner table, in the car, or even when we are out on a hike. What a fun way to practice the days of the week too! (We are singing it with "para" at my house, but you can choose to sing it however you would like.)


All the versions and conflicting information I have come across can be a bit tricky to navigate, but it also reminds me of why I wrote Beautiful Mundo in the first place!


If you have any thoughts on these rhymes, or the uses of por and para, I would love to hear from you! Email me at hola@beautifulmundo.com and I will happily read your feedback and thoughts.


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The author and voice behind Beautiful Mundo.

You can learn more about my story over here.

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