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Para vs. Por in Portuguese – When to Use Either

Language learners often get confused by the Portuguese prepositions para and por. While it is true that both are prepositions of movement, we use them under different circumstances. 

So, what’s the difference between para and por?

Shortly, para indicates movement emphasizing direction and final destination, whereas por suggests a passing-by motion and itinerary. While the former often corresponds to the English preposition to, the latter corresponds to either by or through

Esta camioneta vai para Lisboa.
This bus goes to Lisbon. 

A camioneta passa por Leiria. (a caminho de Lisboa)
The bus passes by Leiria. (on its way to Lisbon)

There’s more to it. Read on.

Lesson #48 Preposition por - Portuguesepedia
Bread & Butter of Portuguese Prepositions

Portuguese learners also struggle to understand when to use para and a. If you are one of them, read this: Portuguese Prepositions “Para” vs. “A”: Know When to Use Either.



We use para to indicate movement and mark the direction and final destination:

Ele foi para a escola. 
He went to school.

Este avião vai para a República Checa. 
This plane is bound for the Czech Republic.


Besides movement, we also use para to denote intention and purpose:

Eu estou a estudar para arranjar um bom emprego.
I am studying to get a good job.


We say para to indicate the recipient when we give or send something to someone:

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