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How To Say Why In Spanish

If you are trying to learn Spanish, it is essential to know how to say "why". The word "why" is used in many contexts, from asking questions to expressing surprise or disappointment. In this article, we will explore the meaning of "why" in Spanish and how to say it.

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What is "Why" in Spanish?

The word "why" in Spanish is "por qué." (IPA: /pɔɾ ˈke/). The phrase is made up of two words: "por," meaning "for," and "qué," meaning "what". Together, they form a phrase that means "for what".

Meaning of "Why" in Spanish

In Spanish, "por qué" is used in several contexts, including:

  • Asking questions: When you want to ask someone the reason for something, you use "por qué". For example, "¿Por qué viniste tarde?" means "Why did you come late?".
  • Expressing surprise: In some situations, "por qué" can be used to express surprise or shock. For instance, if someone tells you that they are quitting their job, you might say "¿Por qué?" as a way of expressing surprise or disbelief.
  • Expressing disappointment: "Por qué" can also be used to express disappointment or frustration. For example, if you were expecting a package to arrive on time but it does not, you might say "¿Por qué no llegó el paquete?" to express your disappointment.

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Translating "Why" to Spanish

If you are looking to translate "why" to Spanish, the phrase "por qué" is what you need. Keep in mind that in Spanish, the word order for questions is often different from English. In Spanish, you typically place the verb before the subject. For example:

  • ¿Por qué llegaste tarde?

(Why did you come late?)

Regional Differences

It is important to note that Spanish is spoken in many countries, and there are some regional differences in how "por qué" is used. For example, in Spain, it is common to use the phrase "¿Por qué razón?" instead of just "por qué". In Latin America, you might hear people use "¿Por qué motivo?" or "¿Por qué causa?" instead.

Additionally, some Spanish-speaking countries use the word "para" instead of "por" in certain contexts. For example, in Mexico, it is common to say "¿Para qué?" instead of "¿Por qué?" when asking why.

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How to Say Why in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences on how to say "why" in Spanish:

  • ¿Por qué no estás estudiando?

(Why aren't you studying?)

  • No entiendo por qué hizo eso.

(I don't understand why he did that.)

  • ¿Por qué tienes miedo?

(Why are you afraid?)

  • No sé por qué no funciona. 

(I don't know why it's not working.)

  • ¿Por qué no me llamaste?

    (Why didn't you call me?)


Learning how to say "why" in Spanish is essential if you want to communicate effectively with Spanish speakers. The word "por qué" is used in many different contexts, from asking questions to expressing surprise or disappointment. Keep in mind that there are regional differences in how the phrase is used, but "por qué" is the most common way to say "why" in Spanish. With practice, you will soon be able to use "por qué" confidently in your Spanish conversations.

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