Prepositions in Spanish: a/en/para/por

Hello, my Spanish students! Today we will study how to learn prepositions in Spanish: a/en/para/por. As you know, we are the best Spanish school in Latin America and online. We want to share with you the Latin American culture and grammar

Preposition “a” in Spanish

The Spanish preposition “a” is often thought of as the equivalent of “to”—but in fact, it has far more uses. “A” can also be the equivalent of “on,” “at,” “from,” “by” or “in.” In many cases, it is not translated at all. Almost any verb indicating motion

Almost any verb indicating motion, and even nouns, can be followed by “a” before a destination

Vamos a viajar a Peru = We going to travel to Peru.

You can use “a” before an infinitive like:


Empezó a estudiar = She/he starts to study

Numerous expressions begin with “a” followed by a noun to indicate how something is done:

Before a direct object, “a” is used before name or noun that represents a person in a usage known as the “personal a.” The preposition in these cases usually is not translated. “A” can also introduce an indirect object.

Conozco a mi amigo = I know my friend

Conozco Paris = I know Paris

In the second option you don´t have to use the preposition “a” because is not a person

Preposition “en” in Spanish

This common preposition can mean in, on, at, about, or by, among other translations:

To Indicate location (translations: in, on, at)

Ella está en el baño

Ellos estan en el parque

to indicate time (translation: in)

Fui a Argentina en el invierno.

Vienen en media hora

to indicate manner, or how something is done (translation: by)

Vamos a Italia en tren.

Me voy al doctor en autobus

Preposition in Spanish: por/para

A trick to understanding when to use por and when to use para is knowing which preposition is associated with a cause and which is associated with an effect. Por typically refers to an action’s cause while para refers to its effect

The words por and para are extraordinarily confusing in Spanish, because they have such similar meanings and such diverse usages. But Wanderlust Spanish is here to help you!

When we use “por”?

  1. Motion

You will use the preposition por if you want to talk about going through a certain place or passing by a certain place. In these contexts, por takes on the meaning of through, by, along, or around.

2. Duration

Por is also used to describe the duration of an activity or an action, in which case it can mean duringin, or for.

3. Reason

If you want to express a motive, a cause, or a reason for doing something, you may use por. In this context, its meaning will become: for, on behalf of, because of, or on account of.

When we use “para?
  1. Destination

If you are talking about your destination or direction of travel, you will use para to mean to, towards, or in the direction of.

2. Comparisons and Opinions

If you want to say, “For me, once is enough,” or “For a second-grader, he’s very tall,” you will use para.

3. Purpose

If you want to talk about what something is for, or its purpose, use para.

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People love us!

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Wanderlust was my second home during my 5 months living in Buenos Aires. I got to know Argentina through this amazing school and experiences while studying with my professor, Vicky.

- Rich