Taking the confusion out of “por” and “para” 1

This two prepositions “por” and “para” are frequently mixed up because they are often used for the English word “for”.

They key to understand which preposition has to be used is to think about the meaning you want to convey. In this post I’m going to show you the major uses of these two prepositions:

Purpose- Estudio español para hablar bien con mis amigos españoles.
- I study Spanish in order to speak properly with my Spanish friends.
Cause / Reason- Llegué tarde por el tráfico.
- I arrived late because of the trafic.
Time limit- Quiero el informe en mi oficina para el jueves.
- I want the report in my office by Thursday.
Length of time / Duration of an action (= durante)- Estuvimos encerrados por cinco horas.
- We were locked for five hours.
Destination / Movement towards a place (= hacia)- Voy para el teatro.
- I go to the theatre.
Movement through / by a place- Paseamos por las calles de Paris.
- We walked by the streets of Paris.
Addressee- Este regalo es para ti.
- This present is for you.
Agent- Esta carta fue escrita por Mary.
- This letter was written by Mary.
Comparison- Está muy alto para su edad.
- He is very tall for his age.
Substitution- Estaba enfermo por lo que vine a trabajar por él.
- He was ill so I came to work in his place.

* The preposition “por” in this case is often omitted: Ej: Estuvimos encerrados 5 horas.

Besides this uses there are few more uses and phrases to have into consideration. Here I will indicate a few.


  • Rate or unit of measure:

Elena gana muy bien, casi 60€ por hora. (Elena has a very good salary, almost 60€ per hour).

  • Means of transportation:

Viene por avión. (He comes by plane).

  • Supporting or in favor of:

Trabajo por los Derechos Humanos. (I work for Human Rights).


  • Perspective or opinion:

Para mi, el arte es muy importante. (The art is very important to me).


  • Por si acaso = In case
  • Por eso = Because of that, so
  • Por fin = Finally, at last
  • Por ahora = For now
  • Por lo menos = At least
  • Por cierto = By the way

¿Qué tomas? – Online Spanish Tutor – Intermediate (Podcast 7)



¿Qué tomas? – 7



In this podcast you will listen to real Spanish conversations in an outdors terrace and in a café talking about drinks, food… and the weather! You can find some grammar points related with the subject, some explanations and some practice too.

If you want to exploit at most this audio, get the worksheet available where you’ll find the grammar point, vocabulary and expressions that appear in this audio and some exercises to practice your Spanish.

You can download the podcast here.

The gender and number of nouns 1

  • GENRE: masculine – feminine

All the nouns in Spanish have genre, they are masculine or feminine. There are few rules that help us to decide what is the genre of the noun:

– In general, all nouns that end in: -o, -ón and -r are masculine.

el perro – the dog                         el teclado – the keyboard

el libro – the book                        el cuaderno – the notebook

– In general, all nouns that end in -a, -ción, -sión, -dad, -tad are feminine.

la rata – the rat                             la casa – the house

la canción – the song                  la motivación – the motivation

la verdad – the truth                   la piedad – the mercy

la libertad – the liberty              la amistadthe friendship

But there are a lot of exceptions:

el mapa – the map

la mano – the hand

el problema – the problem

– The nouns that end in -e or in other consonants can be masculine or feminine.

la nube – the cloud                       el hombre – the man

el árbol – the tree                          la miel – the honey

– The nouns that end in -ista can be masculine and feminine (because they are professions)

el, la periodista – the journalist 

el, la masajista – the masseur

  • Masculine to Feminine: In order to change a masculine word into a feminine one, for the professions for instance, we have this 3 rules:

1. The words that end in -o change the “o” into an “a”

el fotógrafo > la fotógrafa the photographer

el panadero > la panaderathe baker

2. The words that end in consonant add an “a”

el profesor > la profesora the teacher

el boxeador > la boxeadorathe boxer

el escritor > la escritorathe writer

3. The words that end in “e”:

3.1 don’t change

el cantante > la cantante the singer

el estudiante > la estudiantethe student

3.2 change the “e” for an “a”

el dependiente > la dependienta the shop assistant

– There are nouns that have a word for masculine and another for feminine:

el padre / la madre – the father / the mother

el toro / la vaca – the bull / the cow

el gallo / la gallina – the rooster / the hen

  • NUMBER: singular – plural

There are two rules to transform a singular noun into plural:

1. Add an “s”

el perro > los perros

la casa > las casas

2. Add “es” with the words that end in consonant.

el profesor > los profesores

la canción > las canciones

2.1 When the word end in “z” it changes to “c” and add “es”

el pez > los peces


Finally, if you want to practice your listening skills, here I leave you with a video class about this topic in Spanish with subtitles in Spanish.