The title of this week's new music video is the common phrase Para Siempre, meaning "forever." Take a look at how the phrase is used in the lyrics:
Puedo esperar para siempre
I can wait forever
Caption 5, Zurdok - Para SiemprePlay Caption
Puede durar para siempre
Can last forever
Caption 7, Zurdok - Para SiemprePlay Caption
Quiero vivir para siempre
I want to live forever
Caption 13, Zurdok - Para SiemprePlay Caption
Tiene que ser para siempre
It has to be forever
Caption 15, Zurdok - Para SiemprePlay Caption
Para here means "for." Para + an expression of time will indicate a point in time for which something is intended--or, a deadline. In the examples above, our singer is intending something to go on forever. Here are two less poetic examples of para in action:
Tengo tarea para mañana.
I have homework for tomorrow.
Tengo que terminar este informe para la semana que viene.
I have to finish this report for next week.
But astute listeners will catch that there's another way to say "for" in Spanish, also used in this song. Look at this line of our featured song:
O por toda una eternidad -Si me lo pides
Or for all eternity -If you ask me
Caption 4, Zurdok - Para SiemprePlay Caption
You see, por + an expression of time usually indicates the duration of something. For example:
Él trabajó por tres horas.
He worked for three hours.
Por la semana que viene, vamos a tener clases en el edificio porque acá hay una reunión.
(Just) for next week, we are having classes in the old building because there is a meeting here.
The difference is subtle when we're talking about the intention "forever" (para siempre) vs. the duration "forever" (por siempre). It's no wonder por and para take a lot of practice to get right for non-native Spanish speakers. But here's a hint to help you along: The phrase 'para siempre' is much more common than 'por siempre' in romantic song lyrics and on Valentine's cards. And even native Spanish speakers debate the por / para divide.