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Uses of POR in Spanish

“Por” means “for”, “because of”, “by” and several other meanings depending on the context.




  1. To express gratitude or apology

Example: ¡gracias por la ayuda! (Thanks for the help!)


  1. For multiplication and division

Example: Dos por dos son cuatro. (Two times two equals four)


  1. For velocity, frequency and proportion

Example: Voy al restaurante cinco veces por semana. (I go to the restaurant five times a week)


  1. Meaning “through,” “along,” “by” or “in the area of”

Example: Andamos por el parque. (We walk through the park)


  1. When talking about exchange, including sales

Example: Él me dio diez dólares por el libro. (He gave me ten dollars for the book)


  1. To mean “on behalf of,” or “in favor of,”

Example: No voté por nadie. (I didn’t vote for anyone)


  1. To express a length of time

Example: yo estudié por dos horas. (I studied for two hours)


  1. To express an undetermined, or general time, meaning “during”

Example: se puede ver las estrellas por la noche. (Stars can be seen at night)


  1. For means of communication or transportation

Example: prefiero viajar por tren y hablar por teléfono. (I prefer to travel by train and talk by phone)


  1. In cases of mistaken identity, or meaning “to be seen as”

Example: me tienen por loco. (They think I’m crazy)


  1. To show the reason for an errand

Example: voy por las frutas (in Spain, “voy a por las frutas”). (I go to get the fruits)


  1. When followed by an infinitive, to express an action that remains to be completed, use “por + infinitive”

Example: la cena está por prepararse/cocinarse. (The dinner is yet to be prepared)


  1. To express cause or reason

Example: el hombre murió por falta de agua. (The man died due to lack of water)


  1. “Estar por” means to be in the mood, or inclined to do something

Example: estoy por tomar café. (I feel like having some coffee)


  1. In passive constructions

Example: el libro fue escrito por Octavio Paz. (The book was written by Octavio Paz)

Some idiomatic expressions with “Por”:


1por adelantadoin advance
2por ahorafor now
3por allíaround there; that way
4por amor de Diosfor God’s sake
5por aquíaround here; this way
6por casualidadby chance
7por cientopercent
8por ciertoby the way
9por completocompletely
10por dentroinside
11por desgraciaunfortunately
12por ejemplofor example
13por esotherefore
14por favorplease
15por finfinally, at last
16por lo generalgenerally
17por lo vistoapparently
18por medio deby means of
19por lo menosat least
20por lo tantoconsequently; therefore
21por mi parteas for me
22por ningún ladonowhere
23por otra parte (por otro lado)on the other hand
24palabra por palabraword for word
25por primera vezfor the first time
26por separadoseparately
27por supuestoof course
28por suertefortunately
29por todas parteseverywhere
30por todos ladoson all sides
31por últimofinally




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