Grammar Linguistics

How To Use the Spanish Preposition Para to Express Destination

Prepositions are present in most languages, and Spanish is no exception. They belong to a group of words known as a closed grammar category. In other words, prepositions do not change: they are not conjugated or modified. 

Some common prepositions in Spanish include a, con, desde, por, entre, hasta, and para. The preposition para has multiple functions in the language. Today, we will talk about how it can express destination, which is one of its most common uses.

Where are you going?

When the subject of a sentence is going to a place, or an object is being moved somewhere, we can use para. This will result in sentences that combine para + article + place. For example, we could say that someone goes para el hotel (to the hotel). 

Let’s take a look at the following sentences:

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We can see that the preposition para is followed by an article and the place or destination (the hotel and my bed). In the third example, an object (a plastic number) is being moved and will be placed on the bed.

How to indicate time destination

Para is commonly used to introduce the parts of a sentence that express the limit of a movement. This usage can also include time destination. For example, if we expect a paper to be available by Tuesday, we could say Estará listo para el día martes. 

Let’s consider some examples of this second destination usage:

Ta-da! Dinner’s ready.
Image by Antony Trivet from Pixabay 

Note: The preposition para conveys both physical and metaphorical destination, but we will talk about that in another article. It is also important not to confuse para and por. We use por to express the cause of an action, similar to “because of” or “for” in English, e.g. Hice la cena por ti (I cooked dinner because of/for you). We will cover por in more detail another time.

And that’s it! You’ve learned how to use para to indicate destination in Spanish.

Written by Isabel Matos

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