Using 'Parar'

Verb Typically Refers to Halting

Stop sign using Spanish verb parar.
Stop sign in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bobby Hidy/Creative Commons

Although the Spanish verb parar is a cognate of the English verb "pare," its meaning is far different: It generally means "to stop" or "to halt" something or someone, and the words most closely related to parar are usually related to the idea of something being stopped.

Some examples of parar used by itself:

  • El policía me paró cuando manejaba el auto de mi mamá. The policeman stopped me when I was driving my mother's car.
  • En el minuto 11 pararon el partido entre España y Ecuador. In the 11th minute they halted the match between Spain and Ecuador.
  • Quieren parar la cosecha para combatir el trabajo infantil. They want to stop the harvest in order to fight child labor.
  • Vamos a parar la privatización del petróleo. We're going to stop the privatization of oil.

In sports usage, "intercept" can sometimes be a good translation: El portero paró tres penaltis tras la prórroga. The goalie intercepted three penalty kicks in overtime.

The reflexive form pararse is used to refer to a person or thing stopping rather than being stopped:

  • Me paré cuando llegué al camino. I stopped when I arrived at the road.
  • No nos vamos a parar a explicaros cómo hacerlo. We're not going to stop to explain to you how to do it.
  • ¿Te paraste a pensar que debería? Did you stop to think what you should do?
  • Ella se paró frente a mi, sujetando mis hombros. She stopped in front of me, grabbing my shoulders.

    The phrase parar de followed by an infinitive refers to the stopping or quitting of an action:

    • Los Tigres no pararon de festejar en el vestidor. The Tigers didn't stop celebrating in the locker room.
    • Hay muchos beneficios de parar de fumar. There are many benefits to quitting smoking.

    The phrase parar en often suggests remaining stationary or staying somewhere:

    • Me paró en la puerta de la habitación y di un leve toque a la puerta. I stood at the door of the room and lightly knocked on the door.
    • Mientras que en una tour de Rumania, paramos en el hotel Wolf en Bran. While on a tour of Romania, we stayed at the Wolf Hotel in Bran.

    The phrase sin parar is very common and refers to something happening nonstop or continuously:

    • Bailamos sin parar en San Isidro lloviera o hiciera sol. We danced all the time in San Isidro, rain or shine.
    • Javier comía sin parar con una sonrisa en los labios. Javier ate nonstop with a smile on his lips.

    The past participle parado often refers to being unemployed or otherwise idle. As a personality trait, parado can refer to someone being timid; sometimes it is used pejoratively to refer to someone unambitious. In can also refer to someone being taken aback or surprised:

    • Grecia empleará temporalmente a 50.000 parados en trabajos para la comunidad. Greece will temporarily hire 50,000 unemployed people in community jobs.
    • Mi hijo es muy parado, y por esta causa a mi hija le gusta controlar la situación. My son is quite timid, so my daughter likes to control the situation.
    • Estaba viendo en la television como siempre y me encontré con algo que me dejó parado. I was watching the television as always and ran across something that left me stunned.

      A parada is often a place where vehicles stop to pick up or drop off passengers: La parada de autobuses se encuentra a la salida del aeropuerto. The bus stop is found at the airport's exit.

      Conjugation: Parar is conjugated regularly, following the pattern of hablar.