“por qué” vs “porque” in Spanish – Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about por qué vs. porque in Spanish, two terms that look similar but mean different things.

The meanings are:

  • por qué = why
  • porque = because

Actually, we there are another 2 terms that also look similar. They are:

  • porqué = reason, cause
  • por que (several possible meanings)

In this lesson we will study the use of each term, with example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

por qué = why

por qué is a question word that means “why”.

We usually place it inside a question (with question marks):

¿Por qué?
Why?

¿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 me dice por qué.
He doesn’t tell me why.

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

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.

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


Most times, when we ask a question 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 = reason, cause

porqué means “reason, cause”.

It is a masculine noun, almost always preceded by the article el or un:

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

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


And being a noun, 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)

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about this topic:


Exercise 1

Now we are going to practice with sentences.

Fill the gaps choosing between “por qué – porque – porqué – porqués – por que”

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

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

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

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

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

Solutions:
1) por qué
2) por qué
3) porqué
4) porque
5) por que

Exercise 2

Some more sentences!

Fill the gaps choosing between “por qué – porque – porqué – porqués – por que”

6) ¿ ___ te vas?
Why are you leaving?

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

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

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

Solutions:
6) Por qué
7) porque
8) por qué
9) porqués

Check out all our Grammar topics 🧑‍🏫