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¿Por qué tardaste? Porque había tráfico: Porqué vs Por qué vs Porque
This is the favorite question of people who have a partner as well as one of the children’s favorite words when they are about 4 years old, they know more words and want to know why the sky is blue. This is one of the questions that does not let them sleep.
In English the matter is simple, we have why and because, they are spelled differently, they sound different and they are used differently, in short, writing and understanding these words in English is usually simple and even practical. But in Spanish the matter gets a little spicier, hence the existence of this type of articles try to help enthusiastic students of Spanish, shall we start?
The help of tildes
At first glance we have these three words that look exactly the same, but in Spanish we have the pronunciations marked through the accents and their friends the tildes. These two grammatical resources are the ones that will help us to distinguish the differences in pronunciation.
Por qué – Porqué – Porque
All Spanish words have an accent, that syllable that sounds stronger, but not always the accents are marked in a visible way, like the word “porque”.
The tildes are that sign that is placed over the letters that have more vocal force when they are pronounced; in Spanish the tildes help a lot to non-native speakers to know when to pronounce a letter stronger within a word.
¿Por qué? ¡Por qué!
Generally, whenever you see separate words, they will have a question mark or exclamation mark and you will have more vowel strength in the letter “e”. As they are two separate words, there is a small pause between each one, which is one of the main differences.
This is a single word, the accentuation is on the letter “e”, and you can almost always find it together with the article “el” or “un”.he other main difference is that since it is a single word it is pronounced together, it is not necessary to leave a space as in the case of the question “¿por qué?”.
Finally, we have a word without a marked accent: this is a type of word called grave, whose strongest vowel sound is found in the letter “o”, which completely changes its pronunciation with respect to the other two variants “por qué?” and “el porqué”.
Meanings that distinguish them
Now that we have seen the main visual and sound differences, let’s move on to the technical part. This section will help you understand much more about how and when each one is used. Let’s start with the meanings.
According to the RAE dictionary, which is the acronym for Real Academia Española (the regulatory body of the Spanish Language Grammar and Vocabulary)), we have three different meanings for each one. The simplest and most effective way for this type of lesson is the practical one. We are going to present each one of the meanings and the everyday use or its uses in routine so you will be able to use them by understanding their meanings and differences.
¿Por qué? ¡Por qué!: Exclamation or interrogation
A few lines above we could see that when separated you will almost always have question marks or exclamation marks accompanying the words. If you are in a very informal environment, you will not necessarily see both signs (¿?, ¡!), but only one at the end like: “por qué?” or “por qué!”. In both cases it still means the same thing.
The RAE defines it as a sequence that is formed through a preposition with the word “por” together with the interrogative or exclamatory “qué” always with the use of the tilde. Its use is the same as the English “Why” when questioning directly or indirectly and is less common for exclamation.
- ¿Por qué llegaste tarde? Porque el autobús se accidentó – Why were you late? Because the bus crashed.
- ¡Vaya por qué carros más geniales pudimos correr! – Wow what cool cars we were able to run through!
- No termino de aceptar por qué siempre tienes que pelear – I can’t quite accept why you always have to fight
Porque: Meaning or reason
We arrived at the answers since according to the RAE the meaning of the word “porque” (Because) is used to give a causal sense, that is to say that something happens and is justified by means of this word, it can also be substituted by words such as “ya que” or “puesto que”.
- Decidí ir al médico porque me sentía mal / decidí ir al médico ya que me sentía mal – I decided to go to the doctor because I was feeling sick.
En su uso más notorio como respuesta a preguntas:
- ¿Por qué le pusiste Harry a tu perro? Porque me gusta Harry Potter. – Why did you name your dog Harry? Because I like Harry Potter.
Porqué: noun for cause, motive, reason
This word is used as a noun, and as a good noun we will find it accompanied by an article: “El” or “Un”. It works both in plural and singular. The easiest way to identify it is to replace it by words like: motive, cause or reason.
- Le negaron su solicitud de vacaciones, pero no le dijeron el porqué – They denied his vacation request, but they didn’t mention the reason.
- No es necesario un porqué, no hay que poner piña a la pizza – There is no need for a why, you should not put pineapple on the pizza.
Por que: always accompanied
This last one is the ugly duckling of the whys, it is almost never used, in fact, it is not even used frequently in English whose equivalence is “for which”. But if you ever need it, here are its two forms:
1. Preposition “por” + relative pronoun “que” (accompanied by an article between the two)
Esa es la razón por la que terminaron su relación – This is the reason why they ended their relationship.
2. Preposition “por” + subordinating conjunction “que”
Before the word “por” there must be a verb, adjective or noun. There are very specific cases in which “por” is attached as a preposition with words such as: asustarse por, preocupar por, optaron por, ansiosos por.
Los niños están ansiosos por que empiecen las vacaciones – Children are anxious for vacation to begin.
Here you have a solid base to speak like a native speaker, try to focus on “Por qué” and “porque” exercises and little by little you will become an expert. Although this is one of the lessons that tends to be a bit difficult, even for native Spanish speakers, I know you will be able to do excellent.
Why don’t we see each other soon in class? Come on! 😉
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