If you’ve heard the phrase por qué, you should know it means “why” in Spanish. You may have used it in various contexts, such as speaking in class or briefly while on vacation in a Spanish-speaking country. But have you found yourself saying “por qué” too much? Has your curiosity urged you to learn more synonyms for the phrase por qué? This guide is for you.

Explore different ways to say why in Spanish

Five ways to say ‘why’ in Spanish

1.   Para qué

The first one on the list is para qué. Para qué in English means “for what?” or “why?” in Spanish. Remember that if you’re using para qué as an interrogative or question, the word “qué” must be accented. That accent mark will help you distinguish between asking “for what?” and saying “so that.” You must also learn to say what in Spanish. These basic Spanish terms and expressions are widely used in daily conversations.

2.   Por qué

In Spanish, por qué means “for why?” or “why.” The critical distinction between these two interrogatives is that we use por qué to inquire about the cause of an event. When we want to know why something is happening, we ask, “por qué.” If we want to know why something happened, we use por qué.

On the other hand, we ask para qué when we want to know the outcome of something. If we want to know what someone wants to accomplish by doing something, we can use the phrase para qué.

3.   Por esta razón

Por esta razón is another way of saying “why” in Spanish. This is not an interrogative, unlike the first two examples on our list. Use this phrase to say “for this reason” or “that’s why”.

If you’re a grammar nut, you’ll notice that the word esta in this phrase lacks an accent mark, distinguishing it from the word está – or “he/she is”).

Learning basic Spanish words and their contextual usage can help you navigate conversations quickly and effortlessly. Always look for ways to expand your knowledge and language skills.

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4.   Por lo cual

Por lo cual means “therefore” or “that’s why” in Spanish. It is a phrase native speakers use to refer to a previously mentioned factor. For example, when discussing a drought related to the lack of fruit growing in your garden, you could use the phrase por lo cual.

5.   El cómo y por qué

This phrase, el cómo y por qué, translates into English as “the how and why” or “the whys and wherefores.” This phrase will be used at the end of a sentence, followed by the words _de algo_. So, just like in English, you can discuss “the whys and wherefores” of something specific, such as the reasons for an employee’s poor performance at work.

Does por qué mean the same as para qué?

Because por qué and para qué are both interrogatives that can mean “why,” you might think they mean the same thing.

However, there are a few key differences. Por qué, which means “why” in Spanish, refers to the past causes of something. Para qué also means “why” in Spanish, but it refers to the future goals that someone is attempting to achieve.

These are some of the most common ways to say ‘why’ in Spanish. You can use these phrases according to the nature of your conversation. If you plan to learn Spanish, we urge you to explore italki to hire the best Spanish tutor online.

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations is “¿por cuál motivo?” used in Spanish?

“¿Por cuál motivo?” is employed to inquire about the specific motive or reason for a particular action or circumstance.

When is “¿con qué fin?” used in Spanish?

“¿Con qué fin?” is used to question the purpose or objective behind something.

Under what circumstances is “¿por cuál causa?” used in Spanish?

“¿Por cuál causa?” is used to inquire about the cause or reason behind a specific situation or event.


Now you have some new, unique Spanish ways to ask and explain why something happened. If you’re talking with friends and want to figure out why something happened, change things up and use different phrases to practice saying these variations daily. You can also explore different Spanish flashcard apps to learn new words and phrases.

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