La A Personal
Have you ever seen an “a” placed after a verb in Spanish and had no clue why it was there in that instance but not others? If the word after the verb refers to a specific person, we use the personal a, or in Spanish, “la a personal.”
Ex: I eat the cake. I eat it.
Ex: Voy a llamar a Andrés. = I am going to call Andrés.
Ex: Cepillo a mi gato. = I brush my cat.
Ex: El gato bebe agua.
Ex: Hay una mujer en el restaurante.
Ex: Necesito novio.
Practice exercises: http://www.studyspanish.com/practice/persa.htm
Hear the examples read aloud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBZDNRTMm1c
Por and para is something that I get a lot of questions on, because por and para are frequently used prepositions and they take some getting used to in terms of deciding which is appropriate to use.
|Expressing gratitude or apology||Destination|
|Multiplication and division||Show purpose of a thing|
|Velocity, frequency, and proportion||In order to/ for the purpose of|
|Through, along, by, or in the area of||Indicating a recipient|
|For exchanges, including sales||Deadline or specific time|
|On behalf of or in favor of||Expressing a contrast from what is expected|
|Length of time||“estar para” = an action that is about to be completed|
|An undetermined or general time, or meaning during||¿Para qué? = For what purpose?|
|Methods of communication and transportation|
|In cases of mistaken identity, or meaning “to be seen as”|
|Discussing an errand, using the verb ir, venir, pasar, mandar, volver, preguntar|
|Por + infinitive, meaning an action that is in process|
|Cause or reason|
|“estar por” = to be in the mood|
|In passive sentence constructions|
|Many idiomatic expressions|
|¿Por qué? = For what reason?|
Luckily, the more you practice Spanish and encounter examples of por and para, the more you get a feeling for which one is appropriate in the given situation. However, it is important to know the different uses, because using the wrong one could result in a totally different meaning. For example, Voy por Karin means I am going instead of or on behalf of Karin. Voy para Karin means I am going in order to see Karin. So in the example with por, Karin will not be at the event. In the example with para, Karin is expected to be at the event.
The above chart is a summarization from the resource studyspanish.com. This is an excellent free resource to learn basic grammatical concepts. Here’s a free quiz to practice por and para: http://studyspanish.com/practice/porpara.htm.
Questions? Have a specific example that you would like clarification on por/para? Let me know!