Different meanings of "que"
The word "que" in Spanish can create some confusion among English speakers. Depending on its function in the sentence it will have a different meaning.
Que without an accent can be:
- "that, who", as relative pronouns referring to things or people
- "that", as a conjunction that introduces subordinate clauses
- "than", in comparative sentences
- "I said..." as in a strong request
- "because", in a clause that expresses a cause
- an introductory word that expresses a threat
Here are some examples with que:
El chico que está en la esquina es muy guapo.
They guy who is in the corner is very handsome.
Beatriz quiere que yo cante en el coro.
Beatriz wants me to sing in the choir. [that I sing...]
Yo trabajo más que tú.
I work more than you.
¡Que te pongas ya el pijama!
[I said...] Put your pyjamas on at once!
No subas tan alto que te vas a caer.
Don't go so high, [because] you will fall.
¡Que aviso a la policía!
I will call the police!
Qué with an accent can be:
- What/which...? in questions before a verb or a noun
- What a...! in exclamatory sentences before a noun
- How.../So...! in exclamatory sentences before an adjective
- How little...! in exclamatory sentences before "poco"
Here are some examples with qué:
¿Qué quieres comer?
What would you like to eat?
¿Qué día es hoy?
Which day is it today?
¡Qué casa! Parece un palacio...
What a house! It looks like a palace...
¡Qué alto es aquel hombre!
That man is so tall!
¡Qué poco comes!
How little you eat!