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Ask a Teacher, Lesson 9 - When do we use por qué, por que, porqué and porque?
Hi everybody! Rosa here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Spanish questions.
The question for this lesson is…
When do we use por qué, por que, porqué and porque?
Por qué, por que, porqué, porque Separated? Together? With an accent? Without an accent? What’s the difference? In this lesson we’ll teach you how to choose the right one.
Let’s start with porqué, all one word, with an accent over the e. This is a masculine substantive meaning “cause,” “motive,” or “reason.” Normally an article precedes it.
An example would be -- No quiero saber el porqué. In this case, the meaning is, "I don't want to know the cause, motive or reason."
It also has the plural form, los porqués.
Next, let’s move on to por qué. Separated, with an accent over the e. This phrase is used to ask about the cause, the reason or motive of something. It’s comprised of the preposition por and the interrogative pronoun qué. The accent mark distinguishes it from the relative conjunction que. In this case, por qué functions as “why.”
For example, ¿Por qué no has llegado antes? meaning “Why you didn't come earlier?” Here we are asking what the “cause” or “reason” is for why the person didn’t come sooner.
To answer the question ¿Por qué? we often use our next word, porque, all one word and no accent over the e. It’s a conjunction used to introduce subordinate sentences that express cause.
For example, No pude venir más temprano porque he perdido el tren. meaning “I couldn't come before because I lost the train.” In this case, porque functions as “because.”
Our last one is por que, separated and no accent over the e. There are two grammatical uses for this one.
The first use is the preposition por plus the relative pronoun que. For example, Son varios los motivos por que te llamo, literally, "There are various reasons for which I call you.” Sometimes you can find an article between por and que: por el que, por la que, por los que or por las que. Usually, it means “for which.”
In the second use, it’s comprised of the preposition por plus the subordinating conjunction que. We find it when we have specific verbs that require the preposition por. For example, Estoy contento por que vengas a visitarme, literally translated as "I'm happy for that you are going to visit me."
So remember--
Porqué -- (the reason) is a noun
Por qué -- (why) Makes questions
Porque -- (because) Answers questions
and Por que -- (for which or verbs that require por)
How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
¡Hasta luego! “See you later!”