Using porque, como and es que to express cause

There are many different types of conjunctions in Spanish that express a "cause". Here are three common ones, but they work in slightly different ways:

Porque

With porque we explain the cause of something:

Hoy no voy al trabajo porque estoy enfermo.
I am not going to work today because I am ill.

El profesor está enfadado porque los estudiantes charlan en clase continuamente.
The teacher is cross because the students chat in class continuously.

Me he puesto morena porque he estado en Tenerife una semana.
I got a tan because I was in Tenerife for a week.

The normal order in this type of sentences with porque is: 

  1. Consequence first: "Hoy no voy al trabajo"
  2. Cause second: "porque estoy enfermo"

Como

With como we can also express a cause. Let's use the same examples as above but using como:

Como estoy enfermo, no voy a ir al trabajo hoy.
As (because) I am ill, I am not going to work today.

Como los estudiantes charlan continuamente, el profesor está enfadado.
As the students chat continuously, the teacher is cross.

Como he estado en Tenerife una semana, me he puesto morena.
As I was in Tenerife for a week, I got a tan.

The normal order in this type of sentences with como is:

  1. Cause first: "Como he estado en Tenerife una semana"
  2. Consequence second: "me he puesto morena"

The parts must be separated by a comma.

Es que

With es que we introduce a cause which is often at the same time a "justification or an excuse" for doing something or having done something.

-Alberto, ¿qué te pasa? ¿Estás enfadado? -Es que mis estudiantes hablan continuamente en clase.
-Alberto, what's the matter? are you cross? -The problem is my students chat continuously in class.

-Alberto, hoy no has ido a trabajar. -No, es que estoy enfermo.
Alberto, you haven't been to work today. -No, the thing is I am ill.

-Alberto, estás muy moreno. -Es que he estado en Tenerife una semana.
-Alberto, you are tanned. -Well, I was in Tenerife for a week.

Notice how the cause or excuse is given in the second sentence with es que, and it is an independant clause to the first one.

Examples and resources

Hoy no voy al trabajo porque estoy enfermo.
I am not going to work today because I am ill.


Como los estudiantes charlan continuamente, el profesor está enfadado.
As the students chat continuously, the teacher is cross.


-Alberto, estás muy moreno. -Es que he estado en Tenerife una semana.
-Alberto, you are tanned. -Well, I was in Tenerife for a week.


Como estoy enfermo, no voy a ir al trabajo hoy.
As (because) I am ill, I am not going to work today.


-Alberto, hoy no has ido a trabajar. -No, es que estoy enfermo.
Alberto, you haven't been to work today. -No, the thing is I am ill.


Me he puesto morena porque he estado en Tenerife una semana.
I got a tan because I was in Tenerife for a week.


-Alberto, ¿qué te pasa? ¿Estás enfadado? -Es que mis estudiantes hablan continuamente en clase.
-Alberto, what's the matter? are you cross? -The problem is my students chat continuously in class.


El profesor está enfadado porque los estudiantes charlan en clase continuamente.
The teacher is cross because the students chat in class continuously.


Como he estado en Tenerife una semana, me he puesto morena.
As I was in Tenerife for a week, I got a tan.


Q&A Forum 1 question, 3 answers

Answer marked wrong BUT

Es que

With es que we introduce a cause which is often at the same time a "justification or an excuse" for doing something or having done something.Direct from lesson

What is “As I don’t have any money”  if it not a justification?

What is “As I don’t have any money if it is not the cause”

IT POOR TEACHING IF YOU GIVE AMBIGUOUS QUESTIONS AND THE MARK THEM WRONG   

I have the same comments about the questions on Alguno  

 

Asked 4 months ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hola Johan

If you read the whole lesson you will see how they are not always interchangeable. In this case, the only correct option is "como". We say in the lesson that:

1. Es que is an independent clause. It is introduced in the second sentence, not the first sentence. (not possible in this case)

2. Porque is more commonly/naturally used in the second part of the sentence, not the first part. (not possible in this case either)

3. Como is always introduced at the beginning and it is not possible to use it in the second sentence. (correct in this case)

We have also included a hint in the question saying "Bear in mind the most normal/natural order in Spanish".

I hope this clarifies it.

Un saludo

Inma

Are you therefore saying that es que is only used in answer to a question?   

You seem to indicate that in the lesson examples the independent clause introduced by es que is the second sentence.  You go on to say what distinguishes es que is that it is used as a second sentence.  Does this mean that es que MUST always be introduced by a first sentence?

InmaKwiziq language super star

I mean that when you give an excuse/justification using "Es que",  "es que" is always found at the beginning of a sentence (an independent one). And this sentence explains the excuse to whatever is expressed in a first sentence.

With the other options (como and porque) you will normally find a sentence with a subordinate clause introduced by como or porque. See this example that we can express using the three structures:

1. -Como Alberto ha estado en Tenerife una semana, Alberto está muy moreno. 

(As Alberto has been in Tenerife for a week, Alberto is very tanned)

Subordinate clause "como Alberto ha estado en Tenerife una semana..."

2. -Alberto está muy moreno porque ha estado una semana en Tenerife.

(Alberto is very tanned because he's been in Tenerife for a week)

Subordinate clause "porque ha estado en Tenerife una semana"

3.  -Alberto, estás muy moreno. -Es que he estado en Tenerife una semana.

-Alberto, you are very tanned. -The thing is I've been in Tenerife for a week.

Too independent clauses. No subordinate clause.

The "es que" sentence comes after a previous one because as it is expressing a cause/justification, a previous comment is needed to give that justification. 

Inma

 

Answer marked wrong BUT

Es que

With es que we introduce a cause which is often at the same time a "justification or an excuse" for doing something or having done something.Direct from lesson

What is “As I don’t have any money”  if it not a justification?

What is “As I don’t have any money if it is not the cause”

IT POOR TEACHING IF YOU GIVE AMBIGUOUS QUESTIONS AND THE MARK THEM WRONG   

I have the same comments about the questions on Alguno  

 

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