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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

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?


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.


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...