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Portuguese Prepositions: "Para" and "Por" in Portuguese

For English-speaking adults on the exciting journey of learning Portuguese, mastering prepositions is a crucial step towards achieving fluency. Two frequently used prepositions, "para" and "por," often cause confusion due to their multiple meanings and contexts.

In this blog post, we'll demystify the usage of these prepositions and provide some examples to help you grasp their nuances.

Plus, stay connected with us on Instagram @portugueselanguagecentre for regular tips and engaging videos on grammar and more!

"Para" - Recipient, Direction and Purpose:

  1. Recipient: use 'para' in Portuguese when we are talking about the recipient who will get something from someone, such as when you give, send, say or deliver something to someone.


  • Juliana mandou um email para a biblioteca. (Juliana sent an email to the library).

  • Ele deu as chaves para o motorista. (He gave the driver the keys)

  • A padaria entregou o bolo para a dona da casa. (The bakery delivery the cake to the owner of the house).

2. Direction: Use "para" to indicate direction towards a specific destination. Examples:

  • Vou para a praia amanhã. (I'm going to the beach tomorrow.)

  • Ele viajou para Portugal no mês passado. (He traveled to Portugal last month.)

3. Purpose or Goal: "Para" is employed to express the purpose or goal of an action. Examples:

  • Estudo todos os dias para aprender mais. (I study every day to learn more.)

  • Ela trabalha duro para melhorar sua carreira. (She works hard to improve her career.)

"Por" - Reason, Duration, and Exchange:

  1. Duration: "Por" is employed to express the duration of an action. Examples:

    • Estudamos por duas horas todos os dias. (We study for two hours every day.)

    • Eles viajaram por uma semana. (They traveled for a week.)

2. Reason or Cause: Use "por" to indicate the reason, cause, or motive behind an action. Examples:

  • Chorou por causa do filme emocionante. (He/she cried because of the emotional movie.)

  • Ele se desculpou por chegar atrasado. (He apologized for arriving late.)

3. Exchange or Substitution: "Por" can indicate an exchange or substitution of something. Examples:

  • Troquei dólares por euros. (I exchanged dollars for euros.)

  • Ela vai ao mercado por mim. (She's going to the market for me.)

Remember, prepositions often depend on context and practice is key to mastering their usage. Follow us on Instagram @portugueselanguagecentre for insightful videos and posts that break down complex grammar concepts, including more about "para" and "por." With consistent practice and guidance, you'll confidently navigate these prepositions and enhance your Portuguese communication skills. Happy learning!

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