"I want a battery for my car."
Translation:Quiero una batería para mi coche.
This topic frustrates many students! Try a look here: http://www.spanishnewyork.com/automatic/porpara.php
If you use "por" in the above sentence you are asking to trade your car for a battery. :)
In Argentina I don't remember using carro... I think we used 'auto' or 'coche'... But we were kids/teenagers and not many of our friends had them :)
Also I think we used batería for drums... But also big batteries... like the kind one might find in an auto... Little batteries were pilas...
I assumed that, left out 'una', and it told me that was wrong.
However, on another question it accepted "el reloj no tiene batería". So I'm guessing this is just a Duolingo error and the 'una' is in fact unnecessary here.
Unless there is some special case where the object of "tener" does not require a definite article, but the object of "querer" does...? Anyone know for certain?
Hmmm... in regard to this example sentence, I'm sure if we translate "El reloj no tiene batería" to "The watch/clock has no battery", we definitely don't need "a"; however, if we translate this sentence like this: "The watch/clock does not have a battery."... . So yeah, sometimes we do need the article and sometimes we don't, but that all depends on the construction we use, in English, and I believe the same applies to Spanish, too. We did have something like "El coche no tiene batería." earlier, I believe.
So for me, just from having lived in a Spanish speaking country... if you told me "el reloj/auto no tiene batería" - it doesn't necessarily only mean it has no battery, it can also mean the battery it does have is dead.
But if you're out trying to buy a battery for your car it is a good idea to specify how many you're after...
I want a battery for my car Quiero una batería para mi coche Vs I want battery for my car Quiero batería para mi auto (Sounds a bit Cavemanish in either language to me)
It's ages since I left South America but as I recall, we used pila for small batteries, flash lights, watches, hearing aides, walkmen, cameras, portable CD players (that long ago) and batería for big batteries... like the ones for cars...
(I'm here mostly to rack up points in a language I already speak to trounce my friends but thats another story) ;)
Think of para as movement from one thing to another. "I go to school for my degree." There's a purpose--you're doing something to move toward your goal. "I want a battery for my car." The battery has a purpose, it is moving toward your car. Por, on the other hand, can be thought of as a way of saying "by way of". It's often used for an exchange of some kind. "You bought a watch for $5". You obtained that watch by giving up $5. "I get to your house by car" would also be por because you're saying you get there by way of driving there. As English speakers por looks so much like for that we get confused but if you think of para as for and por as by, or often as an exchange, it might be helpful.
What I mean to say is... I have been studying Spanish for 3 years now, and I still mess up Por and Para from time to time (ok, more often than that!). Sometimes the "rules" work, and sometimes they don't. I put "rules" in quotes because they are more guidelines than they are rules. Eventually, it will just start to sound right to your ears. Like, I could never say "Gracias para tu ayuda.", without my ears hurting. :)
Def check the link that an earlier person posted, but here's the general rules I go by:
Para often means "in order to" or vaguely "which (now) belongs to"
The second one is kind of a stretch, but it would be like, if I go to the store and buy something for my friend, for a moment it belongs to me, so the sentence, "I bought a giftcard for my friend" also means: "I bought a giftcard which now belongs to my friend"
So that would be an example of the "para" translation of "for."
"Por" seems to cover most other uses of the English word "for."
Generally, that's just exactly what Duolingo wants us to do when we do the opposite (like I inadvertently do so often): pay attention to the accents :). They just call our attention to the error (which is great, imo), but they don't take our hearts away for that (which is great, too, imo :)).