How to say for in spanish

How to say for in spanish — Easy explain

How to say for in Spanish: For in Spanish — Por vs Para, and When to use Which

The word “for” has a wide range of uses. The Cambridge dictionary accounts for around fifteen different meanings for “for”; which, as you can understand, makes it kind of difficult to translate into other languages.

This means we can’t answer “how to say for in Spanish” with a simple word translation — we have to translate by context.

By and large, you can usually use por or para as “for” in Spanish. But you have to be aware of what you’re trying to say.

We’ll break down all of the different uses of for in Spanish with plenty of examples so you’ll know exactly which “for” to use!

How to say for in Spanish: For in Spanish — Por vs Para, and When to use Which

How to say for in spanish

For in Spanish at a Glance

Most Spanish trainees will know that there are two main ways to use the preposition “for” in Spanish: por and para.

But how to use these prepositions isn’t clear! It’s normal for Spanish learners to accidentally use one instead of the other.

And then there are a few other handy ways of translating the idea of “for”, some of which you’ll see below.

To best understand when to use which, let’s look at the following general uses of the word “for”.

For DefinitionFor in SpanishExample Sentence (Eng)Example Sentence (Sp)
Intended to be given toParaThere’s a message for you.Hay un mensaje para ti
Having the purpose ofParaThese boots are made for walkingEstas botas están hechas para caminar
Because of or as a result of somethingPorHe’s famous for his amazing voice.Él es famoso por su increíble voz.
Amount of time or distancePor

We walked for three miles.We stay there for a couple of daysCaminamos por tres millasNos quedamos allí durante un par de días
Occasion or at the time ofParaDid you buy her something for her birthday?¿Le compraste un regalo para su cumpleaños?
In support ofA favor deI’m for gender equality.Estoy a favor de la igualdad de género
In order to help someonePorWhat can I do for you?¿Qué puedo hacer por ti?
In relation to someone or somethingParaThis book is good, but it’s not for me.Este libro es bueno, pero no es para mí.
Getting in exchangePorI bought it for $10.Lo compré por $10.
Representing a company, country, etcParaShe plays for the Sweden national team.Ella juega para la selección de Suecia.
In the direction ofParaShe got on a plane for Madrid.Ella se embarcó en un avión para Madrid.

As a side point, the prepositions por and para don’t always translate back to “for” in English. The misunderstanding goes both ways!

For example, estamos por llegar means “We’re about to arrive”, and “por fin” means “finally”.

This just confirms that you often have to translate words by context.

All the Ways to Say For in Spanish

Para, por, and durante — just three of (the main) ways in which to say for in Spanish

Intended to be given to: Para

When using for to talk about something you might give to someone, whether it be a gift or a message, you would use para.


  1. Hay un mensaje para ti.
  2. Compré un regalo para mi madre
  3. Ella dejó una generosa propina para el camarero


  1. There’s a message for you.
  2. I bought a present for my mother
  3. She left a generous tip for the waiter

Having the purpose of: Para

The word para is used when you mean “the purpose or the use of something”.


  1. Estas botas están hechas para caminar.
  2. Estamos recolectando dinero para la Cruz Roja.
  3. Queremos una mesa para dos.


  1. These boots are made for walking.
  2. We’re collecting money for the Red Cross.
  3. We want a table for two.

Because of or as a result of something: Por

When we talk about the reason or the result of something, we use por.


  1. Él es famoso por su increíble voz.
  2. Ella recibió un premio por su investigación
  3. Él fue preso por robo


  1. He’s famous for his amazing voice.
  2. She received a prize for her research
  3. He went to jail for robbery

Amount of time or distance: Por, Durante

Both por and durante are used to mean “for” in Spanish, when talking about time or space. Let’s take a look at some example lines for por.


  1. Estuvo callado por dos horas
  2. Caminamos por tres millas.


  1. He was quiet for two hours
  2. We walked for three miles

The other way to say for in Spanish when speaking about time is durante. In Spanish, durante has a meaning strongly linked with time. Durante also means “during”.


  1. Ella durmió durante todo el viaje.
  2. Nos quedamos allí durante un par de días.


  1. She slept for the whole trip.
  2. We stayed there for a couple of days.

Again, you don’t exactly translate durante back to “for” in every case. For example, the sentence durante la semana means “during the week”, and doesn’t involve the word “for” in English at all.

Occasion of or at the time of: Para

If you’ve done something for an occasion, an event or a point in time, you’d use para.


  1. ¿Le compraste un regalo para su cumpleaños?
  2. Arreglamos una cita para la semana próxima,
  3. Ya tengo planes para Año Nuevo.


  1. Did you buy her something for her birthday?
  2. We arranged a date for next week
  3. I already have plans for New Years.

In support of or in agreement with: A favor de

When talking about being in favor or in agreement with something, the term a favor de is appropriate. It translates straight to “in favor of” in English.


Estoy a favor de la igualdad de género


I’m for gender equality

In order to help someone: Por

Por is used when talking about doing something for someone, or helping someone.


  1. ¿Qué puedo hacer por ti?
  2. Lo hice por mis hijos


  1. What can I do for you?
  2. I did it for my children

Getting in exchange: Por

If you are using “for” in Spanish when talking about trading things or services, you would use por. It is used widely when talking about getting something.


  1. Lo compré por $10.
  2. Le doy una golosina por cada examen que aprueba


  1. I bought it for $10.
  2. I give her candy for each exam she passes

Representing a company, country, etc: Para

Use para when speaking to someone representing a company, a country, a group, etc…


  1. Ella juega para la selección de Suecia.
  2. Él trabaja para Corporate Inc.


  1. She plays for the Sweden national team.
  2. He works for Corporate Inc.

In the direction of: Para

If pointing to the direction of something, especially if you’re going somewhere, para is used.


  1. Ella se embarcó en un avión para Madrid.
  2. Él sigió los carteles para la estación


  1. She got on a plane for Madrid.
  2. He followed the signs for the station

Alternatively, you could also use the Spanish word hacia, which means “toward”.


As you can see, the answer to how to say “for” in Spanish is not an easy one. Luckily, you normally only have to pick between para and por. If you find this a little difficult, you are not alone.

With enough practice, you’ll start to understand the differences and over time, figuring out which “for” to use will feel normal.

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