How do we translate the below sentence into Spanish?

Meat is the only source of income for them.

I have the following options:

La carne es el único ingreso por ellos.

La carne es el único ingreso para ellos.

La carne es el único ingreso a ellos.

La carne es el único ingreso de ellos.

6 Answers 6


La carne es el único ingreso para ellos would be the correct one.

Apparently, google translate would've given you the correct answer too. Para is usually a pretty direct translation of for, although I'm sure you could find some exceptions

Check the answer below for a better translation, and maybe change whether this is the accepted answer:

"La carne es la única fuente de ingresos para ellos"

  • You’re right, Google did give me “para” but the reason I was (rather still am) confused is because elsewhere, someone gave the following translation as an example of por usage: Trabajamos por los derechos humanos (We work for human rights). Aren’t both scenarios similar?
    – TheLearner
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 11:25
  • 1
    Yes, that is one of the meanings of portoo: 1. prep. A favor o en defensa de alguien o de algo. Por él daré la vida. However, it's usually para what is used when it's for the benefit of a person or company. Por and Paraare confusing, and also complex when going back from spanish to english, so I understand you having problems with it. Forin english is translated as both porand paradepending on the specific usage. Keep learning, and you'll get it in no time. Reading a lot is beneficial for this kind of situations where learning the rules by heart is pretty difficult
    – pHonta
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 12:30
  • 1
    Also, I wasn't saying that you should've gone to google translate, just pointing out that, funnily, it was right in this case. Usually, the translations it gives are low quality and won't teach you as much
    – pHonta
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 12:32
  • 1
    I have serious reservations about saying that "para is usually a pretty direct translation of for" as there are many exceptions – in both directions. In fact, prepositions are considered as one of the most difficult things when learning a language.
    – Em1
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 13:40
  • As other answers say, the natural way of saying that is "es su único ingreso", and as far as I know, "su" means "de él/ de ella/de ellos" etc., so why do you say it is the only correct? I mean, what's the explanation/source? Because I find "de ellos" unusual but formallly impeccable
    – FGSUZ
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 14:00

The most natural sentence in Spanish would actually be "La carne es su única fuente de ingreso".


To make a more natural sentence in spanish, it would require you to change your phrase a little. "Meat is the only source of income for them." this time a literal translation fits better.

Literal translation -> "La carne es la única fuente de ingreso para ellos"


I would translate your phrase as:

La carnes es su unico ingreso. Or: La carne es su unica fuente de ingresos.

All the other forms sound awkward to my ear.


As pointed in other replies, the good answer is "para ellos". "for" is almost always equivalent to "para".

Just as a rule of thumb, you can use these translations if you have any doubts:

  • "para" = "for"
  • "por" = "by" ("Escrito por Cervantes" = "Written by Cervantes").
  • "a" = "to" ("Voy a Madrid" = "I'm going to Madrid")
  • "de" = "of" ("Hecho de polyester" = "Made of polyester")

There are a lot of exceptions, of course. For example: "de" can also be used as "from", when indicating origin. So, "I am from Madrid" would be "Soy de Madrid". But the rules above are good general guidelines.


"La carne es el único ingreso para ellos" is correct.

From https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/por-vs-para "In Spanish, both por and para take on the responsibilities of not only for, but also by, on, through, because of, in exchange for, in order to, and several other prepositions and phrases."

  • The quote that you give suggests they are completely interchangeable but you have come down firmly for para. Perhaps you could edit in your reasoning?
    – mdewey
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:42

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