• Virginia Langhammer

When to use PARA or POR?

Updated: Apr 30





Hi everyone, Virginia here.


Do you know when to use the prepositions "para" and "por"? My students ask me this all the time.


The prepositions "para" and "por" can be used in many different situations. There is not a single translation of these prepositions into English or a simple rule to know when to use one or the other.


For this reason, the best way to learn how to use these prepositions is to study the most common use. In this lesson, we’ll see five uses of the preposition "para" and five uses of the preposition "por", so you have a better idea of when to use one or the other.


Let's begin with the preposition "para".


We use the preposition "para" when we refer to:


1. Destination or direction


For example:

Eu vou para o Brasil todos os anos. (I go to Brazil every year.)
Estou indo para casa. (I'm going home.)
Ele olhou para mim. (He looked at me.)

We use the preposition "para" when we refer to:


2. Purpose, reason or motive


For example:

Eu estudo português para falar com meus amigos brasileiros. (I study Portuguese to talk with my Brazilian friends.)
Estou estudando para o teste de português. (I'm studying for the Portuguese test.)
Comprei farinha para fazer um bolo. (I bought flour to make a cake.)

We use the preposition "para" when we refer to:


3. Due date or time


For example:

Preciso escrever um ensaio para sexta-feira. (I need to write an essay for Friday.)
Meu chefe quer o relatório para segunda-feira. (My boss wants the report for Monday.)
Você tem planos para o fim de semana? (Do you have plans for the weekend?)

We use the preposition "para" when we refer to:


4. Designation


For example:

Este livro é para você. (This book is for you.)
Você tem algo para mim? (Do you have something for me?)
Ele comprou um presente para ela. (He bought her a gift.)

We use the preposition "para" when we refer to:


5. Employment


For example:

Ele trabalha para uma grande empresa. (He works for a large company.)
Eu trabalho para mim mesma. (I work for myself.)

Now, let's look at the most common examples with the preposition "por".


We use the preposition "por" when we want to say:


1. How often you do something.


For example:

Eu estudo português duas vezes por semana. (I study Portuguese twice a week.)
Eu vou ao Brasil uma vez por ano. (I go to Brazil once a year.)

We use the preposition "por" when we refer to:


2. Means of communication


For example:

Eu vou enviar o cheque do aluguel por correio. (I'll send the rent check by mail.)
Ela falou com a mãe por telefone. (She talked with her mother on the phone.)

We use the preposition "por" when we refer to:


3. Duration


For example:

Eu vou viajar por uma semana. (I'm going to travel for a week.)
Ele morou no Brasil por dois anos. (He lived in Brazil for two years.)
Ela estuda francês por uma hora todos os dias. (She studies French for one hour every day.)

We use the preposition "por" when we refer to:


4. Price


For example:

Eu comprei este livro por dez reais. (I bought this book for ten reais.)
Quanto você pagou por este livro? (How much did you pay for this book?)

We use the preposition "por" when we want to say:


5. Instead of/ on behalf of


For example:

Ele vai falar por mim. (He will speak on my behalf.)
Você entregaria este envelope a ela por mim, por favor? (Would you give her this envelope for me, please?)

That’s it! Now you know the most common use of the prepositions "para" and "por".


See you next time!


Your teacher,


Virginia Langhammer