Por qué vs Porque vs Por que vs Porqué: A Simplified Guide

Let’s call them “the porques”. In Spanish, there is Por qué, porque, por que, and porqué. 

They all sound the same but are used in 4 different ways. Luckily, since they sound the same, you don’t need to worry about them while speaking. 

In fact, it’s a confusing topic even for native speakers. 

So as a learner, it’s good to understand the differences. You won’t understand them perfectly right away, but getting an overview now will help you understand the differences over time. 

The 4 ways to use porque 

Here’s an overview of the 4 main uses of por qué vs porque vs porqué vs por que:

SpanishEnglish
Por quéWhy
PorqueBecause
El porquéThe reason/cause
Por que For which

Below, we’ll compare each of these in detail and look at some examples.

There are 4 main uses of the "porques":
Porque: because; por qué: why; Porqué: the reason; por que: for what

Por qué vs porque: why vs because. “Por qué” is literally “For what”.

How to use por qué

Por qué is for questions: it means “why?”. There are two situations where you’ll use it. 

Direct questions

SpanishEnglish
¿Por qué no estás trabajando hoy? Why aren’t you working today?
¿Por qué hay tanta gente aquí? Why are there so many people here?
¿Por qué no quieres ir conmigo? Why don’t you want to go with me?

Reported questions

SpanishEnglish
No entiendo por qué no estás trabajando hoyI don’t understand why you’re not working today
No sé por qué hay tanta gente aquíI don’t know why there are so many people here
Ella no me dijo por qué no quiere ir conmigoShe didn’t tell me why she doesn’t want to go with me

Through which/what

SpanishEnglish
¿Sabes por qué puerta sale el avión?Do you know which gate the plane leaves from (lit. “through what gate”)
No sé por qué calle hay que irI don’t know which street we need to take (lit. “through what street”)
¿Viste por qué puerta salió?Did you see which door he left through? (lit. “through what door”)

How to pronounce por qué in a sentence

¿Por qué no hacemos algo juntos hoy?

How to Use Porque

The most common use of porque is to say because. It’s a way to respond to a question and join two thoughts. 

Porque can also be used to say “So that”, but it’s less common than “Para que”. 

Let’s look at a few examples of porque in a sentence. 

Porque for Responding to a question

The most common use of porque is to reply to a question – in the same way that we use because in English. 

SpanishEnglish
– ¿Por qué no vienes? 
– Porque no tengo tiempo
– Why aren’t you coming?
– Because I don’t have time
– ¿Por qué hace tanto calor? 
– Porque hay una ola de calor 
– Why is it so hot?
– Because there is a heat wave
– ¿Por qué no nieva en Puerto Rico? 
– Porque es demasiado tropical 
– Why doesn’t it snow in Puerto Rico
– Because it’s too tropical

Often, ya que (since) can also be used here. (Ya que Puerto Rico es una isla tropical, no nieva allá). 


Porque for Describing a reason why or joining two thoughts

SpanishEnglish
Quería ir porque se veía bonito en las fotosI wanted to go because it looked pretty in the photos
No voy porque tengo que trabajarI’m not going because I have to work
El estadio está abarrotado porque hay un partido importante The stadium is packed because there’s an important game

Porque for “So that”

Porque can also mean “so that”. This is more advanced usage since it requires the subjunctive tense. 

SpanishEnglish
Porque podamos comer a las ocho, necesitamos preparar la comida ahoraSo that we can eat at 8, we need to prepare the food now
Reza porque te den una buena nota Pray
Hice lo que pude porque no saliera malThe stadium is packed because there’s an important game

Technically, it can be written either porque or por que. (Hice lo que pude por que no saliera mal)

Note: In these situations, para que has the same meaning — so that. Para que tends to be more common. 

– Para que podamos comer a las ocho, necesitamos preparar la comida ahora

– Reza para que te den una buena nota

– Hice lo que pude para que no saliera mal

How to pronounce porque in a sentence

“El niño rezongaba porque no quería ir al colegio”.

How to Use Porqué

Using porqué is simple: it’s a noun, meaning reason or cause. 

SpanishEnglish
Los entrenadores quieren saber el porqué de la pérdidaThe coaches want to know the reason for the loss
Mi mamá siempre sabe el verdadero porquéMy mom always knows the real reason why
Todo tiene su porqué Everything has its reason

How to pronounce porqué in a sentence

“Muchos hay que aborrecen de balde, sin saber el cómo ni el porqué. (Baltasar Gracián)”

How to use Por que

Por que (two words, no accent) is the least common of the uses. 

Por que for a cause /reason (“For which”)

Por que (without an accent on the e) equates to “for which”. 

SpanishEnglish
La razón por que no vineThe reason I came (for that I came)
La puerta por que salió el vuelo The gate where the flight left (lit. through what left the plane)
El camino por que vinimos The path we came from (lit. through what we came)

However, this form is less common. Usually, you’ll hear people put an article between por and que:

  • La razón por la que no vine
  • La puerta por la que salió el vuelo
  • El camino por el que vinimos 

Por que in phrases where por is required. 

Some phrases require por. This includes verb phrases, like preocuparse por (to worry about), luchar por (to fight for), optar por (opt for), as well as adjective phrases, like estar ansioso por (to be excited for). 

SpanishEnglish
Me preocupo por que estés sano y salvo I worry that you are safe and sound
Todos optamos por que no hubiera otro partidoWe all opted for there not being another game
Estoy ansiosa por que empiecen las vacaciones I’m excited / eager for the holidays to start

The ‘porques’ in Spanish are tricky

But don’t let that get you down. Remember — they all sound roughly the same, so when you’re speaking you don’t need to worry about them. 

The most important are por qué (why) and porque (because). 

If you’re working on those, start by making 3 of your own sentences with each of those. 

If you’re comfortable with por qué and porque, practice the next two: Porqué (the reason) and por que (so that). Make 3 of your own sentences with each of those. 

Leave your sentences in the comments and let me know if you have any questions. 

Hey there, I'm Connor. I help motivated learners speak Spanish without slogging through grammar books or tapping through every new app. I started Breakthrough Spanish to give more people the confidence and focus to learn effectively Spanish from home.

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