Difference between porque and por qué (because and why)

There are words in Spanish which change their meaning simply when you use a written accent. Let's look at porque vs por qué which is also written as one word and two words respectively.

Porque

Porque is a conjunction that introduces a subordinate sentence and introduces cause. It will never have an accent and it is a single word. Its direct English translation is because.

For example:

Nunca veo la televisión porque no ponen nada interesante.
I never watch TV because they never show anything interesting.

Por qué

Por qué is written as two separate words and has a written accent on qué. It is used in both direct and indirect interrogative sentences. Its direct English translation is why.

For example:

¿Por qué trabajas tantas horas al día?
Why do you work so many hours a day?

Ella me preguntó por qué trabajaba tanto.
She asked me why I worked so much.

 Here are some more examples:

No llegamos a tiempo porque había mucho tráfico.
We didn't arrive on time because there was a lot of traffic.

¿Por qué te portas tan mal?
Why do you behave so badly?

No entiendo por qué quieres salir con ella.
I don't understand why you want to go out with her.

 

  • Porque = because
  • Por qué = why

 

Examples and resources

Ella me preguntó por qué trabajaba tanto.
She asked me why I worked so much.


¿Por qué trabajas tantas horas al día?
Why do you work so many hours a day?


No llegamos a tiempo porque había mucho tráfico.
We didn't arrive on time because there was a lot of traffic.


Nunca veo la televisión porque no ponen nada interesante.
I never watch TV because they never show anything interesting.


No entiendo por qué quieres salir con ella.
I don't understand why you want to go out with her.


¿Por qué te portas tan mal?
Why do you behave so badly?


Q&A

allison

Kwiziq community member

14 May 2018

2 replies

Why can't you also use "que" here?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

15 May 2018

15/05/18

Hola Allison,

This is a lesson about using porque (because) versus por qué (why).

Can you clarify your question please?

Gracias

Inma

allison

Kwiziq community member

21 May 2018

21/05/18

Because we have also learned that because can be expressed with "que" before the dependent clause. So can one use it in this case also? I realize the explanation refers to por qué vs. porque, but with a fill-in-the-blank question, all correct answers should be correct.
Let me take a look at that...