Waiting is expensive!

“No tengo tiempo para esperar”

“I don’t have time to wait.”

Native English speakers often wonder why we use ‘para’ here instead of ‘a’ or why even use a preposition here at all? On one of Duolingo’s threads, this was indeed the question and the following response is how I explained it.

This sentence in English is a lazy version of the long expression, “I don’t have (enough) time (in order to) [spend it] wait[ing].”

Since the speaker is breathing he obviously HAS time, but in his opinion it is not enough to spend it waiting. But we shorten this concept down to the current expression, “I don’t have time to wait” because the literal meaning is understood.

In Spanish, the “in order to” or “para” is used here to keep the type of relationship clear between having enough time and one’s willingness to “spend it” waiting.

In other words, because this statement implies one doesn’t have enough of something IN ORDER TO reach their GOAL or DESTINATION, “para” is used.

A side note:

Quite often in English we simply use “to” in place of the long form “in order to” and for native English speakers (especially we Americans) this can cause much confusion when learning Spanish.

I hope this helps.

This is a small point to be sure, but sometimes the it’s the little confusions that lead to the biggest misunderstandings.

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

Santiago

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