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I am trying to learn the uses of por and para. Whilst doing so I have noticed (maybe incorrectly) that verbs following por or para seem to pretty much be in the infinitive form.

Is my observation correct? Are there any rules for when to use the infinitive or a conjugation following either por or para?

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All verbs that follow prepositions will be in the infinitive form. They can only be conjugated if they are contained in a subordinate clause but then it's the que/donde/quien that follows the preposition.

There is one notable exception to the above, which is that the preposition en can be followed either by the infinitive or the gerund, though the latter is quite uncommon in modern Spanish.

  • this is right. Only infinitive after por and para but that is just half the story....:) – Lambie Jul 16 '18 at 14:40
  • I suggest you edit this to add the other exception that Andrés found (see comment below). – aparente001 May 10 '19 at 2:49
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I'm afraid you can't do it like that. It's not about verbs taking por and para, it's about the difference in meaning of por and para in Spanish. For example:

Vino por mi casa. [He came by my house]

Vino para mi casa. [He came to my house]

Both with the verb venir. The verb does not "take" either. Using one or the other will change the meaning of the sentence.

As for what comes after the por or para, they can, depending on circumstances, both take an infinitive.

Pasó por aqui para verme. [He came by to see me]

Se paró por verme en la calle. [He stopped because he saw me in the street.]

Por ser muy pobre, no pudo comprar zapatos nuevos.

You can see that por + infinitive has nothing in my examples to do with what the preceding verb takes or does not take.

My advice is this: get yourself a really good hardback bilingual dictionary like the Larousse. It has an incredible list of examples with these kinds of things. All sorts of tricky little things one would never find in an online dictionary.

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    I think you misunderstood his question. He wasn't talking about whether verbs use por/para, just what prepositions in general (such as por/para) take when a verb(al clause) is the object of the preposition. – user0721090601 Jul 16 '18 at 12:48
  • I think the OP misunderstood. You are right, only an infinitive can be used after por and para, as I showed in my examples. The fact there is an infinitive does not help to learn the difference in meaning of the two, which is the main learning point.There are no rules for which verbs are followed por and para: por and para mean different things. And you have to learn to understand the difference. – Lambie Jul 16 '18 at 13:46
  • lo dio por terminado ningún infinitivo... – Andrés Chandía Jul 18 '18 at 10:04
  • @AndrésChandía Es verdad. Dar por terminado. dar por [participio pasado]. Quizás sería bueno decírselo al que respondió arriba. "Hecho" es un verbo pero no un verbo declinado. Pero gracías por decírmelo. – Lambie Jul 18 '18 at 14:09

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