Spanish Grammar: "Para"

The Spanish words "por" and "para" are often confused by non-native speakers. Both "por" and "para" literally translated mean "for" in English, but they actually have a variety of meanings. To learn when and how to use "por" vs "para" visit Basic "por" vs. "para" (motion vs. destination). Below we'll explore the rules of usage for the Spanish word "para".


Rule: to mean "in order to" or "for the purpose of"
In order to make cookies, flour is needed.
Para hacer galletas, se necesita harina.


Rule: to communicate a destination
We are leaving for Spain tomorrow.
Salimos para España mañana.


Rule: to communicate the purpose of something
The plate is for food.
El plato es para la comida.


Rule: to identify a recipient
The money is for you.
El dinero es para ti.


Rule: "estar para" to indicate an action that is about to be completed
The airplane is about to take off.
El avión está para despegar.


Rule: to communicate a deadline or time frame
I need the report by Friday.
Necesito el informe para el viernes.


Rule: to show contrast from what is expected (or the "norm")
For an old man, you run fast.
Para un viejito, corre rápido.

Expressions that Use "Para"

The following are some of the most common Spanish expressions that use the word "para".

down; downward
para abajo
backward
para detrás
forward
para adelante
to be about to
estar para
by that time
para entonces
so that; in order that
para que
Why?
(For what purpose?)
¿para qué?
by that time
para esa época
for another occasion
para otra vez
just for a change
para variar
forever
para siempre
to be two of a kind
ser tal para cual