March 14, 2021 by Olga Put Spanish Grammar 0 comments
What’s the deal with porque vs por que vs porqué vs por qué? Is there any difference? Pronunciation no, emphasis yes. Does it matter if I omit the accent marks? Oh, yes. Let me explain.
Have you ever made a mistake with it’s or its, or their, they’re, and there? We all do, in situations when our mind simply goes blank. However, if you give a second reading to your text, you’ll correct your mistakes, because the rules that distinguish one from another are quite simple.
It’s the same idea here. Porque, por qué, por que, and porqué are different words with different meanings, and you use them in different situations and grammatical contexts. However, it’s still easy to confuse them.
Read on to discover the rules behind these four apparently similar words. I’ll show you examples that are easy to understand. And give you a super fun board game so that you can polish your porque vs por que skills.
Ready to start?
El Porqué – The reason
Let’s start with the easiest of the porque vs por que dilemma: el porqué. It’s written as a single word with an accent mark over the last letter.
As you can see, I put an article before the whole word. What does it mean? Yes, it’s a masculine noun. And it smoothly translates to “reason” in English.
Because it’s a noun, it always has an article (definite or indefinite) or other determiners in front, such as possessive pronouns (mi porqué, tu porqué).
No entiendo el porqué de tu comportamiento en la boda de tu prima.
I don’t understand the reason for your behavior at your cousin’s wedding.
Todo tiene su porqué.
Everything has its reason.
Esta biblioteca es el porqué de mi felicidad.
This library is the reason for my happiness.
Because it’s a noun, it also has a plural form: los porqués.
Hay que ver los porqués de su decisión, seguro tendrá sus razones.
You have to see the reasons for his decision, he will surely have his motives.
Por qué vs Porque
Let’s continue with our porque vs por que discussion. The next pair is por qué and porque. These are also simple to understand. Just remember: por qué is a question word that translates to “why” in English, and porque is “because.”
Por qué – Why Are You Asking?
Note that por qué has two separate words, and the qué has an accent mark. That should remind you that it is a question. Do you remember that we always put an accent mark over the main question word in Spanish? To learn more, read Say What? The Definitive, Must-Have Guide to Spanish Question Words.
1. Por qué to Introduce Questions
Por qué introduces both direct and indirect questions; it always translates to “why.”
¿Por qué no viniste ayer al club?
Why didn’t you come yesterday?
¿Por qué no te gustan las manzanas?
Why don’t you like apples?
¿Por qué es tu película favorita?
Why is it your favorite movie?
Reported Indirect Question:
Dime por qué no viniste ayer al club.
Tell me why you didn’t come to the club yesterday.
No entiendo por qué no te gustan las manzanas.
I don’t understand why you don’t like apples.
Explícame por qué es tu película favorita.
Explain to me why it is your favorite movie.
2. Por qué to Introduce Exclamations
Por qué can also introduce directive exclamative sentences. Although it’s definitely not as common as ¡Qué!
¡Por qué vista tan hermosa!
Why such a beautiful view! (What a beautiful view!)
¡Por qué lees tanto!
Why do you read so much! (How much you read!)
Porque – Give Me Your Reason
Porque, written as one word with no accent marks, is a conjunction. You’ll use it to explain causes, reasons, or goals.
In this case, you’ll simply translate porque to “because.” You can start a sentence with this word after you’ve heard a question, or use it in the middle of a sentence to explain a cause.
–¿Por qué lo hiciste? –Porque quise.
–Why did you do it? –Because I wanted to.
Compré este coche porque me gustó el color.
I bought this car because I liked the color.
No te escuche porque tenía puestos los audífonos.
I didn’t hear you because I was wearing my headphones.
In this situation, you typically write porque as one single word without an accent, but it is acceptable (although less common) to write it as two separate words (por que). It explains the purpose of your action or behavior and is a synonym for para que.
Note that the verb after porque in this meaning is always in the subjunctive mood.
Hice todo lo posible porque no se separara de mí.
Hice todo lo posible por que no se separara de mí.
I did everything possible to keep him from leaving me.
And here we come to the last part of the porque vs por que dilemma.
Por que is probably the trickiest and the least common in modern Spanish. There are two situations in which you’ll use por que written as two separate words and without an accent mark.
1. Preposition por + the relative pronoun que
Normally, this expression also has a definite article in the middle, but the confusing version without it is also in use. You can translate it with “for which.”
Esta es la razón por (la) que te contacté.
This is the reason for which I contacted you.
Los motivos por (los) que peleaban me parecían ridículos.
The reasons for which they were fighting seemed ridiculous to me.
2. Preposition por (After a Verb, Noun, or Adjective) + Subordinate Conjunction que
In Spanish, there are some words that combine with the preposition por. For example: preocuparse por (to be worried about), asustarse por (to be scared by), estar ansioso por (to be anxious about), una preocupación por (a worry about).
The subjunctive mood follows the por que in this meaning.
Se preocupaban por que no perdieran la casa.
They worried that they would not lose the house.
Estoy ansiosa por que empiece la carrera.
I am eager for the race to begin.
Es una preocupación por que mis hijos puedan tener una vida feliz.
It is a concern that my children can have a happy life.
Porque vs Por qué vs Porqué vs Por que Memory Game
I promised you a board game and here you are. I prepared a learning activity that will help you polish your porque vs por que skills. Just download the game, read the instructions and enjoy. The rules are the same as a typical memory game, so it won’t take you long to understand how everything works.
The game tests all four terms this post covers: por qué, porque, porqué, and por que.
Download FREE Porque vs Por qué vs Porqué vs Por que Memory Game
Type your name and email below to get your Porque vs Por qué vs Porqué vs Por que Memory Game!
Now, you’re a master of the four porques. But remember, practice makes perfect.
Do you want to use ‘porque vs por que’ in real, one-to-one conversations? Sign up for a free class and take your porques to the next level with one of our friendly and professional native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Push your limits, and grow your skills. ¿Por qué no?
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Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy
I'm a Spanish philologist, teacher, and freelance writer with a Master's degree in Humanities from Madrid. I speak Polish, Spanish, and English fluently, and want to get better in Portuguese and German. A lover of literature, and Mexican spicy cuisine, I've lived in Poland, Spain, and Mexico and I'm currently living and teaching in Madeira, Portugal.
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How would you describe the difference between por qué and porque? ›
Sometimes, words that are written and pronounced in a similar way can have very different meanings. This is the case with por qué vs porque, two fundamental words that mean “why” and “because”, respectively.Is Porque one word or two? ›
Bear in mind that unlike por qué, the word porque doesn't have a tilde above the e and is always written as one word.What is the difference between Quoique and quoi que? ›
In spoken French, it's most often used on its own, in a one-word sentence. While 'although' in French is quoique, on the other hand, quoi que (in two words) means “Whatever”. It's always followed by a subject and a verb in the subjunctive.Is por used for purpose? ›
1) The most common use of this preposition is to express the purpose or the objective of an action.How do you tell the difference between Qui and QUE? ›
The short answer
At the beginning of a question, qui usually means “who” and que typically means “what”. This is what French learners typically think each word means. However, either word can mean “who” or “that”. In fact, qui and que don't translate directly to any one English word.
Qué is used in both direct and indirect exclamatory and interrogative sentences, it is generally translated as what or how.What does Porque mean slang? ›
(Internet slang, text messaging) Abbreviation of porque (“because”).Is que correct? ›
One of the words that people are looking for when they look up que is queue, a word that means “line” (as in, “We waited in the ticket queue.”) Sometimes people are looking for the homonym cue, or “a signal to start or do something” (“The lights just went out—that's my cue to start the movie.”).What is the plural form of Por que? ›
Declension of the noun porqué
Masculino, Singular. el porqué Masculino, Plural. los porquées.
In English, if you didn't hear someone, simply saying “What?” would be considered informal or even rude, and the same goes for quoi.
How do you answer Pourquoi? ›
Pourquoi = why – Note: to answer, use: parce que (parce qu'il-s, parce qu'elle-s) Combien = how many (de + noun) Qui = who, whom.How do you use Quoique? ›
Quoique –in one word– means although and is a synonym of bien que. Look at these examples: Quoique timide, il a posé beaucoup de questions (Although he is shy, he asked a lot of questions) Quoiqu'il fasse froid, il est sorti sans veste (Although it's cold, he went out without a jacket on)How do you use POR in a sentence? ›
- Por la mañana desayuno cereales. I have cereal for breakfast in the morning.
- Por la tarde voy al gimnasio. I go to the gym in the afternoon.
- Veo la televisión por la noche. I watch TV in the evening.
The preposition para is used in Spanish to express an opinion. You could say that it is the equivalent of English phrases like In my/your/his opinion, as far as I am/you are/he is concerned, etc.Do you use por or para for cost? ›
Por – Use 6 – Price or exchange
In English, you might say 'I want to exchange this for that', in Spanish you would use por to say 'for' in this context. English: I bought it for 12 euros. Español: Lo compré por 12 euros.
It's common in French to repeat the yes twice: “oui, oui…” Of course this cracks up our English friends, but it's common to double the yes to answer in a casual way in French. It doesn't have a specific meaning: it's just a way to speak and it's not like we say “oui, oui” all the time either.When should I use cual vs que? ›
So, what's the difference between qué vs cuál? When meaning 'what', qué asks for a definition, time, or explanation, whereas cuál is used to ask for personal information. When meaning 'which', 'qué' asks about objects and preferences. 'Cuál' asks to make a choice between two options.What is the difference between ce qui and ce que in French? ›
Ce que vs Ce qui: The Rule of Thumb
If the word that follows IS a verb or a reflexive pronoun, then you will use ce qui. If the word that follows IS NOT a verb or a reflexive pronoun, then you will use ce que.
The current official list is: a, ante, bajo, cabe, con, contra, de, desde, durante, en, entre, hacia, hasta, mediante, para, por, según, sin, so, sobre, tras, versus, vía.What are the 4 types of sentences in Spanish? ›
- Statements & declarations (oraciones enunciativas) ...
- Questions & Interrogatives (oraciones interrogativas) ...
- Commands, Orders, Imperatives, Directives (oraciones imperativas) ...
- Exclamations (oraciones exclamativas) ...
- Wish (oraciones desiderativas)
Why do some Spanish sentences start with que? ›
So, what does QUE in Spanish mean? Well, it can mean, THAT, it can also mean, WHICH, it can mean, WHAT as a statement and WHAT? as a question. Sometimes Spanish speakers use QUE in place of WHO, also.What is QUÉ mean? ›
Que is one of the most commonly used words in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. It is a multifunctional word, signifying everything from “that” and “which” to “what” or “whom.”How do you say LOL in Spanish slang? ›
Well, in the digital world you will encounter many Spanish speakers using LOL, but the most popular way to express laughter is jajaja.How do you say because in slang? ›
Cos, a short form of because, is pronounced /kəz/ or /kɒz/ and can also be spelt 'cause. It can be used instead of because (and cos of instead of because of).Why do Mexicans say Pues? ›
Pues in Spanish has dozens of meanings, but as a conjunction it usually works the same as “for,” “then,” “since,” “because,” or “well.” It is used to express cause, motive, or reason. It can also show sequential value, a question, or to emphasize the phrase.What are the 4 subjunctive tenses in Spanish? ›
The 4 subjunctive tenses that we will cover are the present subjunctive, the imperfect (past) subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, and the pluperfect subjunctive.Why is it called Que? ›
Queue comes from the Latin cauda, for tail. Outside the United States it means a line of people or vehicles waiting their turn, so if your English friend talks about queuing up for the movies, that means getting in line for a ticket. We also use it in computing to mean an order of messages to be sent.How do you use cue and queue in a sentence? ›
The pool player picked up his cue to prepare to start the game of eight-ball. In this example, cue refers to the tapered stick a pool player uses to strike the cue ball. To enter the classroom, the children were instructed to form a queue outside the door to the playground.Is a line a que or cue? ›
The correct term is queue line.What are the 3 plural rules in Spanish? ›
- Rule #1: If a noun ends in a vowel, add “s”
- Rule #2: If a noun ends in a consonant, add “es”
- Rule #3: If a noun ends in “z”, change the “z” to “c” and add “es”
Can I say por fa instead of por favor? ›
Yup, in fact, “porfa” is common parlance in some countries south of Mexico too. When I lived in Guatemala, I heard it a ton. Mostly I heard it from people with whom I was friends, people who didn't know me would stick to the more formal and polite “por favor,” as I did with them.What does it mean when someone says Porque? ›
Porque, as noted, is the subordinating conjunction “because.” Porqué with an accent marking the second syllable is a noun meaning “reason” or “motive.” Por que as two words, no accent markings, means “why” (e.g., ¿Por que estas triste? or Why are you sad?).What goes after Porque? ›
Porque = because; it is followed by a verb. The verb doesn't have to come right after porque, but you will have the verb.What does QUÉ mean in an exclamation? ›
Qué is used in both direct and indirect exclamatory and interrogative sentences, it is generally translated as what or how.What is para que used for? ›
“Por qué” literally means “because of what”, as in “what caused this to occur?”, whereas “para qué” literally means “in order to what?”, as in “you're doing this in order to… what?”.