¿Para comer? - Why do you use "para" here? What does "para" mean in this phrase?

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¿Para comer? - Why do you use "para" here? What does "para" mean in this phrase?

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updated FEB 8, 2010
posted by thaibean06

3 Answers

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Literally it means "for to eat," and, believe it or not, English used to actually have that construction, but it is now antiquated (no longer used).

Maybe that's what we see in the old song, "Polly Wolly Doodle"

  • Oh, I went down south for to see my Sal
  • Singing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day
  • Oh my Sal she am a spunky gal
  • Singing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.
updated FEB 8, 2010
edited by Goyo
posted by Goyo
Hehe, that's it!
How funny is that?! What a perfect example! I will share this with my students!
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Para comer = in order to eat / to eat.

Literally it means "for to eat," and, believe it or not, English used to actually have that construction, but it is now antiquated (no longer used).

Cociné la comida para comerla.

I cooked my food for to eat it. (literal translation, antiquated English)

I cooked my food in order to eat it. (good, but wordy)

I cooked my food to eat it. (preferred)

updated FEB 8, 2010
posted by webdunce
Great explaination! Another way that might help to understand this type of construction is to consider "Comer" a gerund rather than as a verb. "What do you want for eating?"
Hey, that might even be a better to look at it Julian, thanks for the input.
...better W A Y to look...
You explained that very well, thank you!
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¿Que quieres para comer? o ¿Qué quieres de comer? What do you want to eat?... Both sentences are correct and mean exactly the same

updated FEB 8, 2010
posted by Benz
I was not aware of the querer + de + infinitive construction. Thanks.
It might be grammatically incorrect. The fact is that we use it as often as "para comer". We also say "¿Qué querés comer hoy?" The three examples sound perfectly normal to me :)
Thank you! You guys are so smart!