Por', 'Para' and the Personal 'a'

Por’, ‘Para’ and the Personal ‘a’

‘Por’ Usage in Spanish Grammar

  • Por’ and ‘Para’ are both prepositions which generally translate to ‘for’ in English but are used in different contexts.
  • Por’: It’s often used to show cause or motivation. For example: “He viajado por trabajo” (I have travelled for work). This means the reason for travel was work.
  • Por’ can also be used to describe a means or way of doing something. For example: “Hablé por teléfono” (I spoke on the phone).
  • Por’: It could also predictably mean ‘by’ when indicating authorship or artistic creation. As in “un libro por Gabriel Garcia Marquez” (a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez).

‘Para’ Usage in Spanish Grammar

  • Para’: It is more commonly used to express the purpose of an action, e.g., “Estudio para aprender” (I study to learn). Here ‘para’ is used to indicate the reason for studying is to learn.
  • Para’: It could also be used to signify the recipient of something, such as in “Este regalo es para ti” (This gift is for you).
  • Para’: It can indicate a deadline or specific time in the future. For example, “La tarea es para mañana” (The task is for tomorrow).

The Personal ‘a’ Usage in Spanish Grammar

  • The Personal ‘a’: It’s used before the direct object when the direct object is a person. For instance, “Veo a Maria” (I see Maria). Even though in English we don’t use ‘a’ before Maria, in Spanish we need to use it to clarify that Maria is the person seen.
  • Personal ‘a’: It’s not used if the person is not specified, or if the person is defined by their job or role. For example, “Busco profesor” (I’m looking for a teacher).
  • Personal ‘a’: It’s also used when the direct object is a pet or an animal with a name or human-like qualities. For example, “Amo a mi perro Max” (I love my dog Max).