«por qué» vs «porque» in Spanish – Learn and Practice

Welcome 😊 to our grammar lesson about por qué vs. porque in Spanish.

These two terms look similar but mean different things. One is used to ask the reasons for something, and the other to give those reasons.

Two sentences with "por qué" and "porque"
Two sentences with «por qué» and «porque»

The meanings are:

  • por qué = why
  • porque = because

And actually, we there are yet another 2 terms that also look similar. They are:

  • porqué = the reason, the cause (this is a noun)
  • por que (several possible meanings)

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to choose between these terms correctly in your sentences.

You will also find a Quiz and Exercises to practice.

por qué = why

por qué means «why». We usually place it inside a question.

¿Por qué?

¿Por qué aprendes español?
Why are you learning Spanish?

¿Sabes por qué hay tanta gente en la calle?
Do you know why there are so many people on the street?

We can also find it in sentences without question marks.

Él no dice por qué.
He doesn’t say why.

No sé por qué has venido.
I don’t know why you came.

porque = because

porque is a conjunction that means «because».

María aprende español porque tiene un novio mexicano.
María learns Spanish because she has a Mexican boyfriend.

Voy al supermercado porque necesito pan.
I go to the supermarket because I need bread.

Los pájaros pueden volar porque tienen alas.
Birds can fly because they have wings.

Most times, when we ask with por qué, we answer with porque.

¿Por qué vas al médico?
Why do you go to the doctor?
Porque tengo fiebre.
Because I have a fever.

porqué = the reason, the cause

porqué means «the reason, the cause». It is a masculine noun, almost always preceded by articles el or un.

No entiendo el porqué de tu actitud.
I don’t understand the reason for your attitude.

Roberto se enfada sin dar un porqué.
Roberto gets angry without giving a reason.

Being a noun, naturally it has a plural form: porqués.

Sin conocer los porqués de esta situación, no podemos actuar.
Without knowing the reasons for this situation, we cannot act.

por que (several possible meanings)

por que is simply the preposition por followed by the relative pronoun que. This case is not frequent, but it can have several meanings.

One possible meaning is «for which…».

Estas son las acciones por que fue criticado.
These are the actions for which he was criticized.

Also, some verbs and expressions are usually followed by «por». When those verbs and expressions introduce a subordinate clause, they also need «que», so it results in por que.

Mis padres optan por que estudie Derecho.
My parents opt for me to study Law. («optar por» = to opt for)



Take this short Quiz to see if you understood this lesson:

Exercise 1

Fill the gaps choosing between «por qué – porque – porqué – porqués – por que». Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1) ¿Sabes por qué está cerrada la tienda?
Do you know why the store is closed?

2) No, no sé por qué .
No, I don’t know why.

3) Sabemos que el ordenador no funciona, pero no sabemos el porqué .
We know the computer doesn’t work, but we don’t know the reason.

4) Ellos tienen dinero porque trabajan mucho.
They have money because they work a lot.

5) El hombre robó una tienda. Esa es la razón por que fue arrestado.
The man robbed a store. That’s the reason for which he was arrested.

Exercise 2

Some more sentences!

Fill the gaps choosing between «por qué – porque – porqué – porqués – por que»

6) ¿ Por qué te vas?
Why are you leaving?

7) Me voy porque tengo una cita.
I’m leaving because I have an appointment.

8) No comprendo por qué dices eso.
I don’t understand why you say that.

9) Ellos no saben los porqués .
They don’t know the reasons.