Some beginner students (and advanced) usually have some problems with when they should use POR, PARA or PORQUE and it can be one of the most frustrating topics to learn in all of Spanish. In this lesson we are going to review some rules to recognize when we should use one or another.
We use POR when we want to speak about the reason behind something. In this case you have to use a noun after POR.
POR + "Me gusta Buenos Aires por el clima." (I like Buenos Aires because of the weather.)
"Como pollo por las proteÃnas que tiene." (I eat chicken because it has protein.)
In Spanish you should use PARA when you are speaking about the objective of an action or the objective of an object. In this case you will use the verb in the infinitive form. PARA + Infinitive Verb: "Ahorro dinero para viajar a otro pais". (I save money to travel to another country.) / "El lapiz sirve para escribir." (The pencil is used to write.).
Finally, we use Porque when you are speaking about the reason of something, but instead of using just the infinitive of the verb, we use the conjugation of the verb.
PORQUE + Conjugated Verb: "Voy a comprme ropa nueva porque quiero estar elegante esta noche".
(I am going to buy new clothes because I want to be elegant tonight.)
So, when someone asks you: "Por que estudias espanol?"
(Why do you study Spanish?), You can answer in different ways:
Por mi trabajo. (Because of my job.)
Por el crecimiento del mercado latino. (Because of the growth of the Latin market.)
Para poder comunicarme con personas que hablan espanol. (To be able to communicate with people who speak Spanish.)
Para viajar por Sudamerica. (For traveling around South America.)
Porque me gusta. (Because I like it.)
Porque quiero conseguir un trabajo mejor. (Because I want to find a better job.)
This little lesson does not cover all aspects of when to use POR, PARA and PORQUE, but it should give you a good start at understanding some important differences of when they are used. Be on the lookout for more lessons about POR, PARA Y PORQUE in the future.
I will end this lesson by mentioning a couple of learning Spanish tools that you can use to increase your knowledge about this topic. The Practice Makes Perfect books are among the best for learning Spanish. There are currently about a dozen books in the Practice Makes Perfect series, covering various topic from vocabulary to grammar. Another one that I have recommended to my students is the Learning Spanish Like Crazy audio course which teachers informal or familiar Spanish, but not slang.