Using por (not para) to express the originating cause or reason

The preposition por (and not para) is used in Spanish in sentences where we want to give a reason why something happens.

Have a look and listen to these examples:

Me casé por amor.I married for love.

No me divorcié por los niños.I didn't get divorced because of the children.

In both cases above the preposition por is followed by a noun, but you can also see por followed by an infinitive for example: 

Le dieron el trabajo por ser el primo del director.He was given the job because he was the manager's cousin.

Va a estudiar medicina por seguir la tradición familiar.She is studying medicine because it's family tradition.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Le dieron el trabajo por ser el primo del director.He was given the job because he was the manager's cousin.
Va a estudiar medicina por seguir la tradición familiar.She is studying medicine because it's family tradition.
No me divorcié por los niños.I didn't get divorced because of the children.
Me casé por amor.I married for love.

Q&A Forum 4 questions, 5 answers

JimA2Kwiziq community member

Por vs Porque

How to decide to use por (for because) versus porque (as in the example above):

Would it be correct to use porque in these examples?  How would one know which to use (por vs porque)?

Ha salido en la televisión por tener quince minutos de fama.
He's been on TV because he was famous for fifteen minutes.

Va a estudiar medicina por seguir la tradición familiar.
She is studying medicine because it's family tradition.

Asked 3 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Jim

The clause using "por" is followed by an infinitive; the clause using "porque" is followed by a conjugated verb:

Ha salido en la televisión por tener quince minutos de fama.

Ha salido en la televisión porque quería tener quince minutos de fama.

(He's been on TV because he wanted to be famous for fifteen minutes.)

You wouldn't be able to use por with a conjugated verb or porque with an infinitive. This would be incorrect:

Ha salido en la televisión por quería tener quince minutos de fama.
Ha salido en la televisión porque tener quince minutos de fama.

Saludos

Inma

JimA2Kwiziq community member

Thanks Inma!  For the purpose of conveying the meaning (in Spanish) of 'being on TV because he was famous for 15 minutes', I assume that both of these sentences would be correct:

Ha salido en la televisión por tener quince minutos de fama.

Ha salido en la televisión porque quería tener quince minutos de fama

Is one of these more commonly used by a native speaker, or would it (just) be a matter of preference (assuming that both are grammatically correct)?

Por vs Porque

How to decide to use por (for because) versus porque (as in the example above):

Would it be correct to use porque in these examples?  How would one know which to use (por vs porque)?

Ha salido en la televisión por tener quince minutos de fama.
He's been on TV because he was famous for fifteen minutes.

Va a estudiar medicina por seguir la tradición familiar.
She is studying medicine because it's family tradition.

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NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Fuimos Ha Mallorca ___trabajo. (We went to Mallorca for/because of work.)

Hi,

I was wondering if and how this sentence would change if you were to use "para" and it comes to mind that perhaps if you used "para" then the sentence would have to change to "para trabajar" and not "para trabajo" ?

Or would there be 3 different meanings for each use: por trabajo, para trabajo, para trabajar (the latter meaning for the purpose of work, correct?)

Thank you. Nicole

Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Nicole

There is a difference in these two sentences, although both would be grammatically correct:

1. Fuimos a Mallorca por trabajo. (We went to Mallorca for/because of work.)

2. Fuimos a Mallorca para trabajar. (We went to Mallorca in order to work.)

1. is emphasising the reason why you go and 2. is emphasising the purpose of your trip. (Even though in the end, the result is the same: you are going to end up working)

However "para trabajo" would sound a bit strange. We generally use "para" with the infinitive, not the noun. It is as if we are omitting the verb, i.e. "Fuimos a Mallorca para [empezar un/buscar] trabajo".

I hope this clarifies it for you.

Saludos

Inma

 

Fuimos Ha Mallorca ___trabajo. (We went to Mallorca for/because of work.)

Hi,

I was wondering if and how this sentence would change if you were to use "para" and it comes to mind that perhaps if you used "para" then the sentence would have to change to "para trabajar" and not "para trabajo" ?

Or would there be 3 different meanings for each use: por trabajo, para trabajo, para trabajar (the latter meaning for the purpose of work, correct?)

Thank you. Nicole

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JackA2Kwiziq community member

What do you mean by " going for work"?

 I am afraid I didn't meet , as yet,  this expression in English and thus, I don't know its meaning. So, can't say if it is "por" or "para" ..

(probably  the Spanish sentence has a well defined meaning but, with my poor Spanish, can't say what is this meaning..

Asked 9 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Jack

When we say in this sentence "Fuimos a Mallorca por trabajo" (We went to Mallorca for work) we mean because of work, the reason why we went to Mallorca was work. 

I understand that it could be a bit ambiguous so I added to the English translation "because of" so it should be clearer now.

I hope this helps

Inma

What do you mean by " going for work"?

 I am afraid I didn't meet , as yet,  this expression in English and thus, I don't know its meaning. So, can't say if it is "por" or "para" ..

(probably  the Spanish sentence has a well defined meaning but, with my poor Spanish, can't say what is this meaning..

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DokuoA2Kwiziq community member

When por is followed by a verb, can I also use para instead?

Asked 11 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Dokuo,

Yes you can. But bear in mind that the meaning of para +infinitive is different to por + infinitive. Here is a lesson on Para + infinitive:

Using para (and not por) for purpose, goal or objective

Hope it helps

Inma

When por is followed by a verb, can I also use para instead?

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