POR and PARA in Portuguese

por and para

The por and para question always seems to put everyone in a bad mood. And that's because it's one of those conceptual grammar rules that depends on the situation, and doesn't make much sense. Why are there two words (actually, prepositions) to say essentially the same thing? And, what exactly does POR in Portuguese really mean?

***Don't confuse por with pôr!

Eu não sei. Nem quero saber!

The road to happiness is always : simplify. Let's learn the TWO MOST COMMON uses for each.

> por

Note: Por very, very often gets used along with "the" (o, a) and when it does it gets CONTRACTED like this:
por + o = pelo
por + a = pela

BIZARRE.
I'm sure there's an explanation for this. But it's not an obvious contraction and, I think it's that way because it sounds good: PAY-LOW & PAY-LA.

Por: Movement through something.

Ela está passando por um momento difícil. > She's going through a difficult time.
Nós vamos por aquela rua que vai até o centro. > We're going by that road that goes to downtown.

Now combine por + o,a:

Vamos pelo centro da cidade. > Let's go by way of downtown.
Ela jogou tudo pela janela. > She threw everything out the window.

Por: Quantity.

Você pode comprar uma cerveja na rua por três reais. > You can buy a beer on the street for three reals.
Vou esperar aqui por quinze minutos. > I'm going to wait here for fifteen minutes.

Now using the contractions PELO & PELA:

Pelo valor de cem mil reais você pode comprar um Land Rover. > For the price of 100k reals you can buy a Land Rover.
Pela primeira vez eles saíram juntos. > They're going out together for the first time.

Por: Reason/Motivation

Por qual motivo você quer aprender Português? > For what reason do you want to learn Portuguese?
Eu tenho muito amor por você. > I have lots of love for you.

Por Contracted:

Obrigado pela oportunidade. > Thanks for the opportunity.
Parabéns pelo site, é otimo! > Congratulations on the site, it's great!

> para

Para is used always to say in order to do something or go somewhere.

Purpose.
Você precisa treinar para falar bem. > You need to practice (in order) to speak well.
Eu vou trabalhar muito para comprar um carro. > I'm going to study a lot (in order) to buy a car.
Direction & Destination.
Eu vou para Salvador. > I'm going to Salvador.
Vamos para o centro da cidade. > let's go downtown.

And if you're really LIGADO com a língua and wonder if you can also contract para + o,a.
SIM!
But it's (for now) just coloquial, which means that you should only use it in informal, spoken situations. Language evolves, and one day these contractions may be adopted into the official lexicon:

para + o = pro
para + a = pra

Vamos pro centro da cidade. > Let's go downtown.
Você foi pra festa da Anita ontem? > Did you go to Anita's party yesterday?
From the video learning course, INTENSIVO.