Difference between porqué and por que (noun vs preposition + conjunction)

These two words, porqué and por que, although they look nearly the same, have two different functions in a sentence.

Note that porqué and por que, are different from por qué and porque which you are already familiar with from Difference between porque and por qué (because and why).

Let's see the difference between porqué and por que:

1. PORQUÉ

Porqué is written as one word with a written accent and is a masculine noun.

No comprendo el porqué de su actitud tan negativa.I don't understand the reason for his negative attitude.

No te voy a explicar los porqués de mi decisión.I won't tell you the reasons for my decision.

As a noun, any associated article (el, los, un, unos) or other determiner such as possesive adjectives (mi, tu, su, etc.) must agree

Porqué can be used in its plural form porqués, as you can see in the second example above.

2. POR QUE

Por que  is written as two words with no written accent. It is formed by the preposition por and conjunction que, and its translation is for which. However, it is often translated as "that" or "why". You can also use por que when a phrasal verb like preocuparse por, luchar por, etc., is naturally followed by que.

Puse todo de mi parte por que no termináramos separados.I did my best so that we wouldn't end up being apart.

Me preocupo por que no le guste.I am worried that she won't like it.

Sometimes por que is a combination of the preposition por + relative pronoun que. In this case it is more common to use it with the article (por el que, por la que...), but it could also be omitted.

Ese fue el motivo por (el) que le escribí; para aclarar la situación.That was why [lit: the reason for which] I wrote to him; to clarify the situation.

Los problemas por (los) que se preocupaba eran ridículos.The problems she worried about / The problems about which she worried were ridiculous.

Remember:

  • Porqué = a reason, a cause (noun)
  • Por que = for which, that, why (preposition + conjunction/ preposition + relative pronoun)

See also:

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Examples and resources

Ese fue el motivo por (el) que le escribí; para aclarar la situación.That was why [lit: the reason for which] I wrote to him; to clarify the situation.
Puse todo de mi parte por que no termináramos separados.I did my best so that we wouldn't end up being apart.
Me preocupo por que no le guste.I am worried that she won't like it.
No te voy a explicar los porqués de mi decisión.I won't tell you the reasons for my decision.
Los problemas por (los) que se preocupaba eran ridículos.The problems she worried about / The problems about which she worried were ridiculous.
No comprendo el porqué de su actitud tan negativa.I don't understand the reason for his negative attitude.
Let me take a look at that...