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Published on: Grammar Bites

How to express cause or reason in Spanish

When we want to discuss the reasons or causes of an action, event, situation, etc, we have some very useful connectors to help us out, known as conectores causales. Although we have a wide range of conectores causales, they all serve the same purpose.

The conectores causales are:

  • Porque: because
  • Como: since, because
  • Por cuanto: (a bit formal) due to, because
  • Gracias a que: (used when the cause or reason is positive) thanks to, owing to
  • Ya que: (mostly informal) because, since
  • Por:  (followed by infinitivo or an object) because, since
  • En vista de que: (formal) due to, given that
  • Debido a que: (formal) due to
  • Pues: (mostly informal) because, since
  • Puesto que: because, since 
  • A causa de: (formal, used frequently when talking about medical situations) due to, caused by
  • Con motivo de: (a bit formal) owing to, due to
  • Ello se debe a: this/that is why, this/that is the reason why
  • Dado que: given than, since

Let’s take a closer look at these connectors!

PORQUE:

1. This connector expresses cause or reason:

  • Esteban no viene a la fiesta porque está enfermo. Esteban won’t come to the party because he’s sick.
  • Ella se mudará a Boston porque tiene un trabajo nuevo. She will move to Boston because she got a new job.

If the cause or reason predates an action in the past that has already finished, the verb that follows porque will be in pretérito imperfecto de indicativo.

Pretérito indefinido + porque + pretérito imperfecto

  • Esteban no vino a la fiesta porque se encontraba enfermo. Esteban didn’t come to the party because he was sick.
  • Ella se mudó a Bostón porque tenía un trabajo nuevo. She moved to Boston because she got a new job.

2. If the action that expresses the cause or reason is also completed in the past, porque will be followed by the pretérito indefinido: 

Pret. indefinido + porque + pret. indefinido

  • Anoche llegué tarde a casa porque trabajé mucho. Last night I arrived late at home because I worked a lot.
COMO:

Although this connector has the same meaning as porque, we only use it at the beginning of the sentence:

1. Como + pret. imperfecto + pret. indefinido

  • Como ya tenía sueño, me fui a la cama temprano. Since I was tired, I went to bed earlier.
  • Como ellos estaban enojados conmigo, no los invité a mi fiesta. Since they were mad at me, I didn’t invited the to my party.

2. Como pret. indef. + pret. indef.

  • Como ellos llegaron tarde, nos fuimos. Since they arrived late, we left.
  • Como empezó a llover, entramos a la casa temprano. Since it started raining, we went inside the house early.
OTROS EJEMPLOS:

1. Pretérito indef. + conector Pret. Imperf.

  • Ellos no salieron rápido del cine debido a que había mucha gente. They didn’t leave the movies quickly because there were too many people.
  • Tú te fuiste de la fiesta ya que no te sentías bien con el estómago. You left the party because you had a stomach ache.

2. Pretérito imperf. + conector + Pret. Imperf.

  • Ellos salían de juerga por cuanto estaban jóvenes y con mucha energía. They went out partying because they were young and had a lot of energy.
  • Tú no querías casarte con él a causa de que no estabas enamorada de él. You didn’t want to marry him because you were not in love.
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