Quick Answer

Learning the differences between por and para can seem daunting at first, but don't give up! Practice is key to getting a handle on the differences between this famously tricky pair of Spanish prepositions.

Below you will find tips for using each preposition, including easy-to-remember acronyms to help you figure out when to use por and para.

Looking for an introduction to por and para? Check out our article on basic por vs. para.


Para is used to talk about purpose, recipients, opinions, destinations, deadlines, and standards. The acronym PRODDS can help you remember these uses! Let's take a closer look at each one.


  • Used to indicate a purpose or a goal.
  • Translation: in order to
Estudio español para hablar con gente de Argentina.
I study Spanish in order to talk to people from Argentina.
Trabaja para ganar dinero.
He works in order to earn money.
Necesitamos hablar para discutir unas cosas importantes.
We need to talk in order to discuss some important things.
Juan usó el teléfono para llamarla.
Juan used the telephone in order to to call her.


  • Used to indicate the recipient of an action or thing.
  • Translation: for
Este pastel es para mi madre.
This cake is for my mother.
Anita trabaja para la RAE.
Anita works for the RAE.


  • Used to talk about an opinion.
  • Translation: for, according to
Para mí, el español es más romántico que el italiano.
For me, Spanish is more romantic than Italian.
Para la profesora los estudiantes son el futuro.
According to the teacher, students are the future.


  • Used to indicate the destination or end point of an object or person.
  • Translation: for
Este cuadro es para un museo en Madrid.
This painting is for a museum in Madrid.
Salgo para Chile esta noche.
I leave for Chile tonight.


  • Used to indicate when something is due or scheduled.
  • Translations: for, by, on
Esta tarea es para mañana.
This homework is for tomorrow.
La cita es para el jueves.
The appointment is on Thursday.


  • Used to compare something or someone to a standard, such as cheapness or speed.
  • Translation: for
Para ser tan barata, esta hamburguesa es deliciosa.
This is delicious for a cheap hamburger.
Para ser una tortuga, es muy rápida.
For a turtle, he is very fast.


Por is to talk about duration, reasons, motives, emotions, exchanges, mode of communication or transportation, and subsitutions. The acronym DREEMS can help you remember these uses!


  • Used to talk about how long it takes something to happen.
  • Translation: for
Viajamos en coche por ocho horas.
We traveled by car for eight hours.
Estudié por cinco horas.
I studied for five hours.

Reason or Motive

  • Used to indicate a reason or motive for doing something.
  • Translation: because of
Por su amor al español, siempre lo estudiaba.
Because of his love for Spanish, he always studied it.
Por el número de gente que vino, pedí más comida.
Because of the number of people who came, I ordered more food.


  • Used to indicate the recipient or cause for an emotional reaction.
  • Translations: for, towards, at
Tengo tanto amor por ti.
I have so much love for you.
La chica siente muchos celos por la estrella del cine.
The girl felt a lot of jealousy towards the movie star.


  • Used to talk about exchanges.
  • Translation: for
Pagué $60 por estos zapatos.
I paid $60 for these shoes.
Te daré mi galleta por tu pastelito.
I'll give you my cookie for your cupcake.

Mode of Communication or Transportation/Movement

  • Used to talk about the manner in which something or someone travels.
  • Translations: by, on, through
Viajamos por tren a Italia.
We travel by train to Italy.
Hablamos por teléfono anoche.
We talked on the phone last night.
Caminamos por el parque hace 2 días.
We walked through the park 2 days ago.


  • Used to indicate that someone or something is taking the place of another person or thing.
  • Translations: for, instead of
Hay una maestra sustituta por la Señora Martinez hoy.
There is a substitute teacher for Mrs. Martinez today.
Fui al supermercado por mi madre porque ella estaba enferma.
I went to the grocery store instead of my mother because she was sick.
Ready to practice?
Master Por vs. Para with our interactive video lessons.