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Difference between "está para" and "está por"

Hi everyone, I was just looking at the lyrics to a Portuguese song (Mariza, Melhor de mim), and it said the following:

Sei que o melhor de mim está para chegar // Sei que o melhor de mim está por chegar

What is the difference between "está para chegar" and "está por chegar"? There must be some subtle point that the songwriter is trying to make.

Thank you for any elucidation on this point.

July 16, 2016



In this case, both mean "about to come."

I think the singer just used two different prepositions, for a poetical purpose.


You're right! In this case both mean the same.


Está para chegar. Está por chegar.

Exactly the same, she just changed the words.


Most of the cases they'll not be interchangeable so you'll have to use either"está por" or "está para". For instance, we would say stuff like:

  • O pior está por vir. (Not para)

  • (Uma) Plataforma de gelo maior que Manhattan está para se soltar da Antártida. (Not por)

I hope you do understand!


Obrigado, SIlas_Inacio. However, your explication complicates things!

Does this mean, that different expressions have para or por, and we just have to memorize the proper preposition?

I had another thought, just looking at examples of sentences containing "está por" or "está para."

Is it possible there there is a more of a sense of intention or purpose when you use "por"? And with "para," there is less intention, and more inevitability with regard to the speaker?

Am I thinking too much about this?

Agradeço-lhes pela atenção!


Sorry haha Well I think you should learn by paying attention to the sentences and stop thinking about the preposition itself. The second example says "(Uma) Plataforma de gelo maior que Manhattan está para se soltar da Antártida." in this case "está para" means "to be about to" so you'll have to memorize it.

I'm sorry if I haven't explained it properly but I don't have the time right now to teach you.


Well, I think in many cases it's thinking too much.

But it's a personal opinion, though. I don't do that with prepositions. Most of the time, I take them, ok. But of course there are interesting things to be thought.

But I found out from knowing a few languages that the time I would spend analysing prepositions would be too much to afford. (This is my case. Some people feel comfortable running over a few things, some don't.)


Even though, sometimes we can try a little XD And I think your guess is not very far from how I see them...

With "por", in many cases we have something "pending". It fits some cases like:

  • Está por fazer (is waiting to be done)
  • Está por vir (is yet to come)

It's not very common to use "por" in other cases.

With "para" it's more like it's on its way. But it can be intentional.

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