Using Estar por + infinitive to express feeling tempted/having the intention to do something (perífrasis verbal)

In Spanish we use estar por, followed by an infinitive, when there is an intention to do something or there is a temptation to do something, that something being what it is expressed with the infinitive. 

Estar por + infinitive 

For example:

Estoy por confesar toda la verdad a mi novio.I feel tempted to confess the whole truth to my boyfriend.

Tus padres están por prohibirte que vayas a la fiesta, así que sé bueno.Your parents are about to/feel tempted to ban you from going to the party, so behave.

María está por dejar el curso y empezar a trabajar.María has the intention of leaving the course and starting work.

Estoy por prestarle yo el dinero a Carmen. Está pasando apuros económicos.I feel tempted to lend Carmen the money. She is having financial problems.

As you can see from the examples, you often find a pronoun attached to the end of the infinitive. The pronoun is not placed in front of the whole structure or in the middle. This would be incorrect:

  • Le estoy por prestar el dinero a Carmen.
  • Estoy le por prestar el dinero a Carmen.
  • Estoy por le prestar el dinero a Carmen.

The subject doesn't always have to be a person; if it's not a person but "something" or it is an impersonal sentence, we can still use estar por + infintive, meaning that there is something that is expected to happen soon/is about to happen soon. For example:

¡Uy! Mira ese cielo gris. Coge el paraguas porque está por llover.Ugh! Look at that grey sky. Take the umbrella because it's going to rain soon.

¡Cuidado! ¡Esa estantería está por caerse!Careful! That shelf is going to fall!

Sometimes, to express that something is still [needed] to be done, we also use estar + por, for example:

Estos documentos todavía están por revisar y firmar. No he tenido tiempo.These documents still need to be reviewed and signed. I haven't had time.

-Tu novia no te dejará venir con nosotros. -Eso está por ver.-Your girlfriend won't let you come with us. -We'll see about that. [lit: that is to be seen]

Mi cita con el pediatra está por confirmar, pero no creo que haya problemas.My appointment with the paediatrician is yet to be confirmed, but I don't think there'll be a problem.

See also Estar para + infinitive to say someone/something is ready for something

 

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Examples and resources

¡Cuidado! ¡Esa estantería está por caerse!Careful! That shelf is going to fall!
Estoy por prestarle yo el dinero a Carmen. Está pasando apuros económicos.I feel tempted to lend Carmen the money. She is having financial problems.
¡Uy! Mira ese cielo gris. Coge el paraguas porque está por llover.Ugh! Look at that grey sky. Take the umbrella because it's going to rain soon.
Tus padres están por prohibirte que vayas a la fiesta, así que sé bueno.Your parents are about to/feel tempted to ban you from going to the party, so behave.
María está por dejar el curso y empezar a trabajar.María has the intention of leaving the course and starting work.
Mi cita con el pediatra está por confirmar, pero no creo que haya problemas.My appointment with the paediatrician is yet to be confirmed, but I don't think there'll be a problem.
-Tu novia no te dejará venir con nosotros. -Eso está por ver.-Your girlfriend won't let you come with us. -We'll see about that. [lit: that is to be seen]
Estos documentos todavía están por revisar y firmar. No he tenido tiempo.These documents still need to be reviewed and signed. I haven't had time.
Estoy por confesar toda la verdad a mi novio.I feel tempted to confess the whole truth to my boyfriend.
Let me take a look at that...