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Por y Para

Por y Para

Bloody hell!  Who would have thought that learning the difference between when to use ‘por’ and when to use ‘para’ would have been so difficult.  To begin with, when you start to learn Spanish, you just assume that they both mean ‘for’.  Big mistake.  

There are many, many different meanings for por and para, and after a week away from school, we started this morning with a rigorous look at some of those meanings.

For those of you who may be interested, ‘por’ can be used as follows:

  • to express gratitude or apology for something;
  • express velocity, frequency or proportion;
  • through, along, by, in the area of;
  • on behalf of;
  • to express length of time;
  • when discussing exchange or sales;
  • when discussing mode of communication or transport…..and on and on…this scratches the surface.

‘Para’ is used when describing a specific destination, for example ‘voy para mi casa’ = I go to my house.  It is also used to indicate a recipient, to express a deadline or when making a comparison or by contrast.

Three hours looking at ‘por’ and ‘para’ and then getting home to look at our homework which included a ‘whodunnit’ tale throughout which we had to determine the correct use of ‘por’ or ‘para’ in every sentence and then decide whodiddit.  I wanted to cry.  By the end of the exercise, I couldn’t have given a fig who murdered el conde Lorensez.

Our week off also meant that we missed a new tense - the Preterito Imperfecto and a bit of the Imperative and given that we, in England, rarely (if ever) learn grammar as part of our own language, understanding various tenses is not easy.

Well, learning the language was always going to be one of our biggest challenges, and I rather think the gears have just been notched up….We now have three consecutive weeks of lessons, and we will either be snivelling wrecks by the end, or we’ll be fluent!  Watch this space.

A Breakthrough?