Spanish -

How To Say For In Spanish

If you are learning Spanish, you may be wondering how to say "for" in Spanish. This is an important word to know, as it is used in a variety of contexts. In this article, we will explore the meaning of "for" in Spanish, how to say it, and regional differences you may encounter.

Fast track your vocabulary with the 10.000 most common Spanish words!

What is "For" in Spanish?

The English word "for" has several meanings, including:

  • Intended to be given to or used by (as in "a gift for you")
  • In support of or in favor of (as in "I'm for democracy")
  • Duration of time (as in "for two hours")
  • In exchange for or to obtain (as in "I'll trade my apple for your banana")

In Spanish, the word "for" is often translated as "para" (IPA: /ˈpaɾa/). However, depending on the context, different Spanish words may be used instead.

4 eBooks of the Spanish Frequency Dictionaries series by MostUsedWords

Translating "For" to Spanish

Here are some of the most common translations of "for" in Spanish:

  • Para: This is the most common translation of "for" in Spanish. It is used in a variety of contexts, including those listed above. The IPA phonetics for "para" are /ˈpaɾa/.
  • Por: This word can also be translated as "for," but it is used in different contexts. For example, "por" can be used to indicate a cause (as in "for that reason"), a substitution (as in "I'll do it for you"), or a method (as in "by car"). The IPA phonetics for "por" are /ˈpoɾ/.
  • En: This preposition can be used to indicate a duration of time, as in "for two hours". The IPA phonetics for "en" are /en/.
  • A: This preposition can be used to indicate an intended recipient, as in "a gift for you". The IPA phonetics for "a" are /a/.
  • Contra: This preposition can be used to indicate opposition, as in "I'm against smoking". The IPA phonetics for "contra" are /ˈkontɾa/.

Regional Differences 

Like any language, Spanish has regional differences that can affect how "for" is used. For example:

  • In Spain, the word "por" is often used to indicate duration of time, rather than "para." So you might hear someone say "estoy aquí por dos horas" instead of "estoy aquí para dos horas".
  • In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, the word "para" can also be used to indicate a substitution or exchange, similar to the way "por" is used in Spain. So you might hear someone say "cambia el libro para el mío" instead of "cambia el libro por el mío".

You can find the paperbacks on Amazon (we have frequency dictionaries for beginnersintermediatesadvanced and near-fluent students), or get the eBooks directly from us here. (They are affiliate links. That means we might get a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking these links, at no extra cost to you.) 

How to Say For in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences on how to say "for" in Spanish:

  • Estoy comprando un libro para mi amigo.

(I'm buying a book for my friend.)

  • Ella ha estado esperando por dos horas.

(She's been waiting for two hours.)

  • Cambiaré mi sándwich por tus papas fritas.

(I have trouble sleeping when I'm nervous.)

  • Está haciendo campaña a la presidencia.

(He's running for president.)

  • Voy a la tienda por leche.

    (I'm going to the store for some milk.)


Now that you know how to say "for" in Spanish and the different ways it can be translated depending on the context, you can start using it correctly in your conversations and writing. Remember to pay attention to regional differences, as they can affect how prepositions are used in different Spanish-speaking countries. Use the sample sentences provided in this article to practice and improve your understanding of this tricky word.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published