Algo de Espaňol Para usted, escrito Por mì!  Like Para, Por is used quite often in Spanish conversation.  It is sometimes difficult to know when to use one or the other.  But like Para, we are lucky in that there are some very obvious situations on when to use Por.Probably the easiest to remember time to use Por is when you are thanking someone for something.  You will use Por followed by the raw verb (the infinitive).  Look at these examples:

Thank you for washing my car. - Gracias Por lavar mì carro.
Thank you for cooking. - Gracias Por cocinar.
Thank you for cleaning the bed room. - Gracias Por arreglar el cuarto.
Thank you for reading my articles. - Gracias Por leer mis artìculos.

You get the idea.  Por is always used when there is an exchange of something.  Above you are exchanging a thank you for something that was done for you.  
Also, when expressing how much you paid, asking how much something costs, or when exchanging something, use Por:

How much for this? - ¿Cuánto por ésto?
I paid five dollars for the pizza. -  Pagué cinco balboas por la pizza.
Juan exchanged his Euros for Dollars. - Juan cambió sus euros Por dólares.

You know how in English we use “Per” to say,  for example, times per day, or miles per hour?  Use Por in place of Per.  And when expressing a  percentage of something use Por:

We eat three times per day. - Comemos tres veces Por dìa.
One has to only  tip 10% in Panamá. - Se tiene que dejar un propino solo de diez Por ciento en Panamá.
We are driving sixty kilometers per hour. - Estamos manejando sesenta kilometers Por hora.

This is easy to remember too.  Por is used to express means of transportation:

They travel from Canada to Panamá by airplane. - Viajan de Canada a Panamá Por avion.
Are you going by bus to Panamá? - ¿Va a Panamá Por autobús?.
He went by train yesterday. - Fue Por tren ayer.

Also, Por is used to indicate the author of a book or an article:

The book is by Margarita Madrigal. - El libro escrito Por Margarita Madrigal. 
Some Spanish for you, written by me! - ¡Algo de Español Para usted, escrito Por mì!

Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to send messages and communicate with one another.  Phone, fax, text, e-mail etc.  Por is used to express these.

By phone. - Por teléfono.
By fax. - Por fax
By e-mail. - Por e-mail.
By computer. - Por computadora.

And any time there is on- going movement, you can bet Por will be hanging around.  Passing by somewhere, making a very temporary stop, or going through something, Por will be there. 

I'm going by the bank before going shopping. - Voy Por el banco antes de ir de compras.
I walked through the park yesterday. - Caminé por el parque ayer.
Can you come by my house (in order) to walk our dog Molly?  ¿Puede pasar Por mí casa Para caminar nuestra perrita Molly?

The above situations of when to use Por are easy to remember and cover a lot of its use.  But remember like Para, there are a lot more.  Some situations you just have to memorize when you use one or the other.  

If you can spot the easy situations using Por (and Para),  you will have come most of the way to mastering their use. 

 I will leave you with a few “Por” (idiomatic) phrases that can come in handy.

At least. - Por lo menos.
At last! - ¡Por fin!
For the first, last time. - Por la primera, última vez.
Of course! - ¡Por supesto!
Around here, there. - Por aquí, allí
In general. - Por lo general.
By means of.- Por medio de.
Please. - Por favor.
For example. - Por ejemplo.

Hope this helps!


Hi, my name is Fred.  My background in Spanish is a year in high school
(long ago) and the last five years taking private lessons almost daily, in
the States and in Panamá'.    I am not yet fluent, but maybe I can pass on
to you some tips to help your Spanish learning experience.