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Por qué, porqué, porque, por que. Differences and uses.

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  • Por qué, porqué, porque, por que. Differences and uses.

    This is a confusion that we find not just in foreigners trying to learn Spanish, but also in a lot of Spanish people (even I have had to check it). However, is easy to know when to use each.

    Por qué (two words, accent) is an interrogative pronoun, so we use it in questions (or very rarely on exclamations). It's English "why".
    - Direct questions: ¿Por qué el cielo es azul?
    - Indirect questions: Me preguntó por qué el cielo es azul.
    - ¡Por qué manos habrá pasado esta moneda!

    Porqué (one word, accent) is a noun derived from the former pronoun, a synonym of reason, cuse, motive (to identify it you can substitute it for one of these synonyms). It can be used in plural. Not very common.
    - No entiendo el porqué de este comportamiento.
    - Nunca sabremos los porqués de su decisión.

    Porque (one word, no accent) is a causal conjunction (very rarely you can see it as a final conjuction). The answer to ¿Por qué?, the English "because".
    - Esto se hace así porque lo digo yo.
    - Final conjunction: Me fui porque no hubiera una pelea. [It should be better to use "para que" or to write it "por que", see below].

    Por que (two words, no accent) can appear in fact in two different cases. Is not frequent, and it has nothing to do with a question or an answer...
    - Preposition por + subordination conjunction que, introducing a subordinate causal phrase: Me fui por que no hubiera una pelea.
    Preposition por + relative pronoun que, introducing a suborditane relative phrase: El camino por que llegaron ha desaparecido. [In fact it's beter if you write "por el que" or "por el cual"].