"The food is for Saturday."
Translation:La comida es para el sábado.
This is not an easy question to answer. They both can mean "for" but they are usually not interchangeable.
Some uses for por:
Expressing movement along, through, around, by or about: Camino por las calles = I walk through the streets.
Denoting a time or duration when something happens. Caminamos por tres semanas = We walk for three weeks.
Expressing the cause (not the purpose) of an action: Me caí por la nieve = I fell down because of the snow.
Used in numerous expressions: Por ejemplo. For example. Por favor. Please.
Uses for para:
"For the purpose of" or "in order to": Para bailar la bamba, necesita una poca de gracia = In order to dance the bamba you need a little grace.
"For the benefit of" or "directed to": Es para usted = It's for you.
"To" or "in the direction of" when referring to a specific place: Voy para Europa = I'm heading to Europe.
"By" or "for" when referring to a specific time: Necesito el regalo para mañana = I need the gift for tomorrow.
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Wrong. 'Para' can be used to express the purpose for something but in this case it is not expressing any purpose. How can the purpose for eating food be Saturday? Doesn't make sense, does it?
'Para' is used here because Saturday is a deadline or end. "The food is for Saturday" means the food is prepared or bought to be eaten on Saturday. It's an 'end point' 'a deadline'. It's gonna be eaten on Saturday.
Yes, that would be an exact transliteration. However, anytime there is a possibility that it could be one Saturday or many Saturdays you need to include a definite article. Other sentences in Spanish that do not have the possibility to be plural do not need the definite article. i.e. "hoy es sabado". There is only one "hoy" so there can only be one "sabado", therefore you do not need to include the definite article. It makes more sense when you look at other days of the week that are difficult to distinguish between singular and plural. i.e. "el martes" vs. "los martes". In English we don't need definite articles for days because they all end in "y" and we just add an "s" for plural days. Make sense?
It's kind of like saying "The food is for THIS Saturday." Not as in "This upcoming Saturday" but like "The food is for this particular Saturday." (Think of yourself pointing to the day on a calendar to show someone when the food was for) If the day in question was Wednesday it would read "La comida es para el miercoles" for one Wednesday or "La comida es para los miercoles" for more than one. The definite article denotes the singular or plural . I hope that helped.
It doesn't, but it has something to do with why we don't translate the definite article. Adding an "s" is how we determine plurality. Most days of the week have the same spelling whether they are singular or plural in Spanish. So the way you determine whether they are singular or plural is with the definite article. You don't need a definite article following "ser" because it's always singular. I think I was trying to be too philological and it came out all muddled and confusing. =/
In spanish, the days of the week usually require the definite article. I like the explanation from aboutspanish:
"Except in constructions where the day of the week follows a form of ser (a verb for "to be"), as in hoy es martes (today is Tuesday), the article is needed. Vamos a la escuela los lunes. (We go to school on Mondays.) El tren sale el miércoles. (The train leaves on Wednesday.)"