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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 and 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?


Micro kwiz: Difference between porque and por qué (because and why)
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