Coming in at number 12 in the top 100 Spanish High Frequency Word list is the Spanish word por.
The word has lots of different meanings in the dictionary. Por is a defined grammatically as a preposition.
Here are the three main meanings:-
Shades and subtleties of meanings are many – my dictionary lists up to 21 various nuances in meaning. But for the beginner, for and because of and by more than suffice.
This monosyllable, lurking in the undergrowth of grammatical complexity, can be the bane of Spanish learners’ lives. Why? Because there are two words in Spanish for the word for in English, the other being para. And, from this simple fact flows a plethora of difficulties, misconceptions, and keeps Spanish teachers in a job!
But, let’s keep it simple. There is a ton of resources on the net that pick through this grammatical minefield, if you need it. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/porpara.htm is as good place to start.
Examples of use:-
lo haces por gusto – you do it for pleasure
hago mis deberes por temor – I do my homework because of fear(!) (does this bring back school memories?)
mando la carta por correo – I send the letter by post (or by mail, for our American cousins)
So, there it is – number 12 in the Spanish most frequently used words list.
It’s simply a “you have to know it” word.