This seems to be a confusing construction for English speakers. If this confuses you, don't try to translate it word for word; sometimes you just can't do that. Just think "is about to" when ever you see "estar por."
The idiom exists in English, though it's somewhat learned usage. A famous example of it from the '80s is when Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister at the time, said 'the lady is not for turning', with the 'is for' idiom meaning the same as 'estar por' here.
Sorry, I have to disagree with you. I think M. Thatcher meant "not for" ie "against" turning, whereas the "estar por" has a feeling of inevitability e.g. It's about to rain (there's nothing you can do to stop it)!
It makes it a lot easier to understand though, to now think of the sentence as "This is for finishing." No need to write off their analogy completely.
If I saw, "This is for finishing" I would think that it needed to be finished or even "(I'm giving you) this (money/present which) is for finishing (the work. Thanks!) But, whatever helps you!
Can we say Estoy por terminar also to mean i am about to finish or would that be Estoy a punto de terminar ?
No exactly, esto está por terminar, it means, still it is not finished, Perhaps it is made more of the 50 % , but still you have to make a lot.
We can say "está casi terminado" o "estoy a punto de terminar".. When the time to finish is a little bit of time.
Even this answer confuses me. Sometimes I feel Duolingo is trying to teach literal Spanish and sometime English equivalents. I agree this is a confusing one. "Por" seems to have many translations; for, through, about, etc.
From my Spanish-English dictionary, "estar por" is "to be about to" or "to be in favor of."
Help! Give me some help distinguishing between these two idioms: (estar por) and estar para). Perhaps they are synonamous, but that is unlikely. Thanks in advance to the Spanish Gurus out there.
Treecie - I went in search of "está por" "está para" on Google and found the uses for por & para. This book [A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, 4th Edition] gives partial preview but enough info for this topic. I have the 5th Edition as one of my go to books. The link should take you to Page 506 http://goo.gl/IRMkKw where you can read lots.
Now you'll see its comprehensive & touches on our issue. However I can't memorize all that so my conclusion is 1) spanish doesn't have a word for about as we have used it here 2) we need a "phrasal verb" in this situation. 3) different regions will use different phrases.
My dictionary defines estar por as [be about to] [be going to] [be in favor of] [be approximately at] and it lists several synonyms such as [estar próximo] [estar a punto] and even [estar para]. So I checked out estar para and we have [be about to] [be in the mood for] [be ready for] and yes the synonyms are cross referenced.
So whats the answer- there isn't one definitive answer. I read recently that a good language learner has to accept the gray areas & its what causes many to quit when they discover this aspect. I am no guru but I do like understanding how the language works. Hope something here helps.
rmcgwn, Thanks for sharing your search! Ahh yes, the gray area. For me, accepting the gray area makes it easier to continue! Idioms, prepositions, direct and indirect pronouns...I enjoy the moments when the light goes on and I learn another aspect of this language.
My grammar ( Spanish Verbs and Essentials of Grammar ) says estar por + infinitive means ' to be in favor of ' or ' is yet to be '. Such as: La carta esta por escribir ( the letter is yet to be written ) y yo estoy por escribirla ( I am in favor of writing it ).
Estar para + infinitive means to be about to. Such as ' Estoy para salir ' ( I am about to leave ).
I think Duo has this one backwards - or am I reading this wrong?
I tried “this is yet to finish” and “this is yet to be finished” but no go from DL. 10/13/18
Yes, there has been a lot of disagreement about this one over the years. My grammar worked well for me in CA.
Perhaps expressions such as this are best introduced as a lesson where you translate the Spanish words that you hear. That would provide an opportunity to see the idiomatic expression before being asked to figure it out without the necessary background.
Is there an order to the questions within a Duolingo lesson? I had the impression they were randomly chosen by the software. It is a game, after all, me against the computer, and I think of it as "the luck of the draw." I have a choice - I can guess and risk a heart, or I can search for the phrase on the Internet in order to meet the DL challenge. Without fail, when I choose to do the research, I learn more than I would have learned from the Duolingo lesson alone. Here are a couple of sites that I find helpful in these circumstances:
This is wrong!!! Estar por is when you are in favour of something. Estar para is when something is about to happen.
rmcgwn's response up above provides a link to a google book preview - on that page (506) it says that "estar por" is used for "about to" in Latin America, whereas in Spain it means more "to be in favour of something/thinking about doing something". This may be the same reason DL has translated it as such. I was also wondering if there was a way to say "about to" which would be correct in spain – could that be "estar para" perhaps, as you said?
Yes, all correct. "Esta para salir"- He's about to leave. "Esta por salir"- He is in favor of (for) leaving".
I checked the following three websites, and while the translations for this sentence vary, they all seem to support the Duolingo translation:
I think your sentence would translate "Esto es casi terminó". Finished being the past tense. (I'm open to correction)
Probably "Esto está casi terminado". I think terminó would be used in cases of "It almost finished" (something in the past) rather than "It IS almost finished" (now, its current state).
I learned that in order to say "about to" (do something), you are to use "estar para + an infinitive". not por. I would say that "estar por" means "to be in favor of ___"
Yea, plus, " La carta esta por escribir. " Meaning " The letter is YET to be written. ", and the response " Estoy por escribirla." I'm for writing it."
por terminar must be one of those expressions nthat can't be directly translated... it doesn't make sense when it's directly translated word for word....
I had never heard of esto por as an idiomatic expression so got a wrong answer, presumably its in the idioms sections offered for lingolots or whatever they are seems harsh when we havent had an idioms section previously, that Duolingo mostly good sometimes infuriating
No, I hadn't heard of that particular usage before either, and I've been studying Spanish for three years now. I guesd unfortunately it's one of those strange things that just needs to be memorized-- every language has them, English included.
The idioms bonus section from the store is actually about Spanish proverbs, like their own versions of sayings like "a watched pot never boils" and so on.
Don't think Duo ever taught us "esta por". I answered "This is ending". No go!
I got burned, too, with "This is ending." I decided that one reason my answer was wrong is because..."This is ending" is an example of the present progressive, i.e. a conjugated form of "to be" plus a gerund. In Spanish, one could also use the present progressive ("Esto está terminando" maybe?). Alternatively, in Spanish, we could use the present indicative. Unlike English, "Esto termina" can mean either "This ends" or "This is ending." Thus, why would we go to the extra trouble of adding "estar por" when a simple "termina" would do?
Appropriately, this was my 2nd to last question in this (review) lesson. XD
I tried this is about over. Though it's not exact it seems to carry the meaning. It was rejected.
With all there is to teach...why an idiomatic expression that cant be agreed upon?
'Estar por', meaning 'about to', is a colloquial expression. I had to hunt through my Larousse to find it. Larousse translates it as 'is on the verge of'. Sorry, I must have missed what this lesson was supposed to be about. I thought it was adjectives.
This is finishing means the same thing in Spanish, and I was marked incorrectly!
This is about to end makes more sense than the translation given of This is almost finished. I can see por for about, but not almost. Guess I will go with Numinous's suggestion of translating estar por to "is about to".