How to Use the French Preposition 'Pour' ('For')

The French preposition pour (pronounced "poor") is one of the most common in the French language and one of the first that new students learn. The word usually means "for," but it has a few other possible meanings as well. Pour can be followed by a noun, pronoun, or infinitive, and as you'll see, it can be used to express causation, intent, and motivation, among other relationships. This word also appears in a number of colloquialisms.

Purpose / Intention

  •  J'ai acheté un cadeau pour toi. > I bought you a gift.
  •  Il l'a fait pour nous aider. > He did it (in order) to help us.

Duration of future event 

In this case, pour functions as a temporal preposition.

  •  Je vais y habiter pour un an. > I'm going to live there for a year.
  •  Il parlera pour une heure. > He will speak for an hour.

In favor of

  •  Il est pour la peine de la mort. > He is in favor of the death penalty.
  •  J'ai voté pour Macron. > I voted for Macron.

Direction

  •  Il est parti pour Ottawa. > He left for Ottawa.
  •  Voici le train pour Rouen. > Here's the train to Rouen.

Point of view

  •  Pour nous, c'est une bonne idée. > For us, it's a good idea.
  •  Il est tout pour moi. > He is everything to me.

Cause / Reason

  •  J'ai été puni pour avoir volé. > I was punished for stealing.
  •  Ce magasin est fermé pour réparations. > This store is closed for repairs.

In place of / In exchange for

  •  Il doit signer pour moi. > He has to sign for me.
  •  Tu me dois 4 euros pour le café. > You owe me 4 euros for the coffee.

Comparison / Relationship

  •  Un pour cent > One per hundred (one percent)
  •  Il fait chaud pour l'automne. > It's hot for the fall.

Description

  •  Je suis assez fatigué pour dormir par terre. > I'm tired enough to sleep on the floor.
  •  Il est trop avare pour nous aider. > He's too stingy to help us.

    Expressions

    • Sa bonne constitution y est pour quelque chose. > His strong constitution had something to do with ou played a part in it.
    • Elle est pour beaucoup dans le succès de la pièce. > The success of the play is to a large extent due to her. / She has had a great deal to do with the success of the play.
    • Ne me remerciez pas, je n'y suis pour rien. > Don't thank me; I didn't have anything to do with it.
    • C'est fait pour. > That's what it's (there) for.
    • être pour > to be in favour
    • Je suis pour qu'on s'y mette tout de suite. > I'm in favour of getting down to it immediately.
    • pour de bon > for good, really

    • pour ce faire > for that purpose, to that end

    • avoir pour but > aim

    • pour ainsi dire > as it were

    • pour l'essential > mainly, basically

    An acceptable antonym would be contre ("against"). Pour que is an offshoot, a conjunction meaning, "so that" or "in order to."

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    ThoughtCo. "How to Use the French Preposition 'Pour' ('For')." ThoughtCo, Apr. 30, 2018, thoughtco.com/pour-french-preposition-1368919. ThoughtCo. (2018, April 30). How to Use the French Preposition 'Pour' ('For'). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/pour-french-preposition-1368919 ThoughtCo. "How to Use the French Preposition 'Pour' ('For')." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/pour-french-preposition-1368919 (accessed May 26, 2018).