para/por confusion


I know the "PRODDS" for para and "DREEM" for por guidelines, but I'm confused about the difference between the following:

Use para for purpose, as in "Trabajo para dinero." I work for money. Use por for motive, as in "Estudio espanol por gusto." I study Spanish for fun.

I'm not sure I can explain the difference; anyone able to give me an assist?

Gracias, mi amigos.

updated MAR 6, 2010
posted by Aamos

3 Answers


The difference between the two is subtle and this is one of the shortcomings of the ACRONYM methods. Sometimes choosing the category or "rule" is harder than knowing which to use in the actual context.

Para is often translated as "in order to" in that context. Por is seen as the porqué, the reason or motive for.

In one of Paralee's lessons there is a visual aid that explains the difference in meanings. It shows something akin to a time/space line and shows that Por is used for beginning, at and through, while para is reserved for destinations and endings.

So if the context is a reason for or motive (beginning) Por is used and if it points to and ending target or destination like "in order to", then para would be used. Since one of the "rules" for para is "destination" (para ellos) this isn't hard to remember.

Just remember beginning motives, reasons por, results, endings, destinations para.

I'll see if I can find the visual aid. I found it more instructive than the ACRONYM "rules".

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updated MAR 6, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507

Good question.

"por" is used to mean "for" in the sense of "in exchange for". Therefore. "trabajo por dinero" means "I work for money", in the sense that you work in exchange for your pay. "Trabajo para ganar dinero" is "I work for the purpose of earning money"

I'm sorry I am not familiar with the "PRODDS" and "DREEM" tricks to remember the para/por difference.

updated MAR 6, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123

So if I wanted to say "I work for money but also for the satisfaction of helping people," would I say

Trabajo para dinero pero tambien por el satisfaccion de ayuda personas?

updated MAR 6, 2010
posted by Aamos
You´d say: Trabajo por dinero pero también por la satisfacción de ayudar a la gente.