Are “por qué” and “porque” the same?

Have trouble telling apart “¿por qué?” and  “porque”? No hay problema!

 

“¿Por qué?” and “porque” may be closely related in meaning, but they are not interchangeable. Let’s take a closer look to their specific uses:

 

Uses of  ¿por qué?:

1. It is used to ask questions:

  • ¿Por qué estudias español? Why do you study Spanish?
  • ¿Por qué te gusta viajar? Why do you like to travel?

2. Sometimes it is used in statements that form an indirect question:

  • Dime por qué las noches son tan largas. Tell me why the nights are so long.
  • Quiero saber por qué no me llamaste. I want to know why you didn’t call me.

 

Uses of porque:

1. It is used to answer questions, especially those asked using “¿por qué?”:

  • – ¿Por qué no me llamaste? – Porque era muy tarde.

             – Why didn’t you call? – Because it was too late.

  • – ¿Por qué no vienes al cine con nosotros? – Porque tengo que estudiar.

             – Why don’t you come to the movies with us? – Because I have to study.

2. It is used to explain the reason or cause of something:

  • Él no viene porque está cansado. He’s not coming because he is tired.
  • Mi hermana está feliz porque hoy empiezan sus vacaciones. My sister is happy because her vacations start today.

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