Grammar Corner

“Por vs. Para” in Spanish

 Anne Silva

Do you groan inwardly every time your lesson plans say that one of the grammar topics this week is “Por vs. Para”? Do you try to be peppy about the topic, like when you try to convince your kids that going to the dentist is Just That Easy!?

Native-speaking teachers and non-native-speaking teachers alike have grammar topics they Just. Hate. To. Teach. For me, one of those has always been the concept of “por vs. para.” As a non-native speaker, I was in the same position as my students, having to try to make sense of a laundry list of rules about this teeny little topic. And as a student, I remember it blowing my mind that BOTH words could be correct in one situation, but with a subtle change in the shade of meaning. High school foreign language students in general have a bit of an issue with “subtle shades of meaning” the way color-blind people have issues with “subtle shades of cerulean.” How frustrating!

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