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Quick answer
"Estar para" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be for", and "estar a punto de" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be about to". Learn more about the difference between "estar para" and "estar a punto de" below.
estar para(
ehs
-
tahr
 
pah
-
rah
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to exist for the purpose of)
a. to be for
Cualquier cosa que necesites saber, pregúntanos, que para eso están los compañeros.Anything you need to know, ask us. That's what colleagues are for.
b. to be there for
¿Por qué no te has secado las manos? La toalla está para eso, ¿sabes?Why didn't you dry your hands? That's what the towel is there for, you know?
c. to be here for
Antes de entrar, límpiense los pies en el felpudo, que para eso está.Before coming in, wipe your feet on the door mat, because that's what it's here for.
d. to be to
¿Por qué no te pides una baja maternal? Digo yo que los derechos están para ejercerlos.Why don't you take maternity leave? I'd say rights are to be exercised.
2. (to feel like)
a. to be in the mood for
Hoy tengo dolor de cabeza y no estoy para tonterías, así que ve directo al grano.Today I have a headache and am not in the mood for nonsense, so get to the point.
3. (to be on the verge of)
a. to be about to
Estaba para llamarle cuando me llamó él a mí.I was about to call him when he called me.
b. to be on the point of
Estábamos para irnos a acostar cuando llegaron ellos.We were on the point of going to bed when they arrived.
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estar a punto de(
ehs
-
tahr
 
ah
 
poon
-
toh
 
deh
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to be very close to)
a. to be about to
Estábamos a punto de pedir unas pizzas. ¿Tú quieres?We were about to order some pizza. Would you like some?
b. to be on the point of
Natalia estaba a punto de decir algo importante cuando sonó el teléfono.Natalia was on the point of saying something important when the telephone rang.
c. to be nearly
Unos cuantos bancos están a punto de quebrar.Quite a few banks are nearly bankrupt.
d. to be almost
La madre no paraba de gritar al niño, que estaba a punto de echarse a llorar.The mother wouldn't stop shouting at the kid, who was almost crying.
e. to be on the verge of
El plan de la empresa no puede fracasar; cientos de personas están a punto de perder sus empleos.The company's plan just cannot fall through; hundreds of people are on the verge of losing their jobs.
f. to be on the brink of
La economía del país andino estaba a punto de caer en una fuerte recesión.The economy of the Andean country was on the brink of falling into a deep recession.
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