It is easy to ask why in Portuguese. It is also easy to answer the question and say because in Portuguese. In fact, while in English you have two very different words – why and because – the corresponding words in Portuguese sound exactly the same. But they are not the same. Observe this example:
LÉO: Por que você está com pressa? = Why are you in a hurry?
CLARA: Porque tenho uma reunião importante. = Because I have an important meeting.
- Why? = Por que? (two words)
- Because = Porque (one word)
Simple, right? Here is another example of how to ask why in Portuguese and how to say because:
DANI: Por que você está tão animado? = Why are you so excited?
MATT: Porque vou viajar ao Brasil semana que vem. = Because I’m traveling to Brazil next week.
DANI: E por que você não falou nada sobre a viagem até agora? = And why haven’t you said anything about the trip until now?
MATT: Não foi por nada. É porque eu decidi viajar de última hora. = No reason. It’s because I decided to travel at the last minute.
How about Porquê and Por quê?
There is one more thing to know. When used alone or at the end of the sentence, por que and porque have a circumflex accent (the little hat) on the last letter. The pronunciation is still the same.
Here is an example:
LAURA: Estou preocupada. = I am worried.
BILL: Por quê? = Why?
When porque means razão (reason) it takes the graphic accent:
Eu sei o porquê da sua alegria. = I know the reason for your joy.
Now check out my Portuguese lesson on How to Use Porque and Por Causa de to increase your vocabulary and make your Portuguese more versatile. There is a video there, one of my first lessons on YouTube, so many years ago.
Your students are in very good hands! 🙂