Conjunction or Preposition? It Matters a Lot!
First, recall that to ask why, we say ¿Por qué? It is written as two words, with an accent on the last word. It sounds exactly like porque, which means because. It is a conjunction. Conjunctions are followed by clauses, with a conjugated verb. So when porque (because) is used, it will be followed by information that explains why whatever is said in the first clause happened. Notice in the following example that the clause that follows the conjunction has a conjugated verb (estaba/was):
Mi hermano se quedó en casa porque estaba enfermo (My brother stayed home because he was sick).
This word and its use is relatively easy. It corresponds to one of the English uses of because. However, the other uses of because in English often involve a preposition, such as because of – and this little addition, as often is the case when a preposition is added, will alter things greatly when seeking a solution in Spanish. Now the concept of causality is expressed with a preposition. In Spanish, the most common solution is to use a causa de plus a noun or pronoun. Do not use porque de!
A causa de la tormenta decidimos regresar a puerto (Due to/Because of the storm, we decided to return to port).
Compramos el vestido a causa de ella (We bought the dress because of her).
When the object of the preposition is not a person, debido a – plus a non-personal noun – is preferred.
Dejaron la canoa en la ribera debido al trabajo de subirla al campamento (They left the canoe on the riverbank due to the trouble of carrying it up to the camp).
Finally, por is also a preposition that indicates cause: by, for the sake of, out of, or other expressions of motive:
Por su culpa, no pude regresar a tiempo (On account of him/his fault, I couldn’t get back in time).
Lo hicimos por la gloria (We did it for glory’s sake).
Author’s more than 20 years experience teaching and translating Spanish.
This post is part of the series: Spanish Usage
The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Above”
- Using “Actual” and “Actually” in Spanish
- A Problem Preposition: The Ways “About” is Expressed in Spanish
- The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb “to Agree”
- Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say “Again”
- Expressing the Many Meanings of After
- Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say “Ahead”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Anyone” and “Anybody”
- Using “Anyway…” in Spanish
- Let’s Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
- What Do You Use for “Around” in Spanish
- The Spanish Verbs Meaning “to Ask” are Many!
- Beware of False Cognates! How to Express “Attend,” “Assist,” and “Help”
- Are You “Cool” or “Cold”? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
- The Difference Between “Why” and “Because” in Spanish
- The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of “Before”: How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Don’t Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of “Behind” in Spanish
- Get the Low Down on the Preposition “Below” and Say it Right in Spanish!
- Understand Saying “Help” in Spanish
- Translating “Beside” & “Besides” into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
- Not all Meanings of “But” Are Equal!
- Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition “By” in Spanish
- What Can the English Word “Can” Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Corner”
- The Word “Country” in Spanish
- The Various Meanings of “Outweigh” in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
- Expressing the Idea of “Ownership” in Spanish
- How to Express “Time & Distance” in Spanish
- Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with… In Spanish, You Probably Need “Tratar”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Having Fun”
- Even a Word Like “Even” Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
- Don’t Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express “to fail”
- Do You Mean “Fair” Weather, a “Fair” Game or a “Fair” Complexion? Learn How to Say Them in Spanish!
- Love, Desire and Wanting – Spanish Style!
- Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing… and More
- You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say “Fear” in Spanish!
- Spanish Equivalents of the Common English Word “Find”
- Discover the Various Meanings of “Middle” and How to Say Them in Spanish
- Not All Spanish Words Meaning “Worker” Are Created Equal