Saying 'Because' in Spanish

How To Express Causation

llama at Machu Picchu
Voy al Perú por las ruinas. (I'm going to Peru because of the ruins.). NeilsPhotography/Creative Commons.

Do you want to indicate the because of things — why something is the way it is, or why it happened the way it did? If so, there are plenty of ways to do it in Spanish in addition to the much-used porque, usually translated as "because".

Indicating causality can be somewhat confusing to people learning Spanish, partly because there isn't one-to-one correspondence between the terms of English and Spanish. Most notably, "because" and "because of" are translated differently into Spanish, and the English word "since" often means the same as "because" but doesn't always.

Here are the most common ways of expressing causation:

Porque

By far the most common translation for "because," porque is used in all sorts of situations:

  • Como porque tengo hambre. (I am eating because I am hungry.)
  • Se fue porque tenía miedo. (He ran away because he was afraid.)
  • Busco ayuda en este grupo porque no puedo bajar videos. (I'm looking for help in this group because I can't download videos.)

Porque typically is followed by a word combination that could stand alone as a sentence, so it normally wouldn't be used to translate "because of." As a general rule, unlike most of the other words and phrases listed here, porque can't be used to begin a sentence.

El porqué de

El porque de is a common way of saying "the reason for" and is typically followed by a noun or noun phrase:

  • No explicó el porqué de su beso (He didn't explain the reason for his kiss.)
  • Necesito saber el porque de esto. (I need to know the reason for this.)

Por

Standing alone as a preposition, por frequently indicates cause and can be translated in a wide variety of ways, including "because of."

  • Lo hice por miedo. (I did it because of fear. I did it out of fear.)
  • Voy al Perú por las ruinas. (I am going to Peru because of the ruins.)
  • Hago cosas buenas por malas razones. (I do good things for bad reasons.)
  • Ganó por trabajar mucho. (He won because he worked hard. He won by means of much work.

Except when used as por qué in a question, por normally isn't used to begin sentences. Note also that por is a versatile preposition, having numerous other usages that aren't related to causation.

A causa de

A causa de, which normally is followed by a noun or noun phrase, is a common way of saying "because of."

  • Salió a causa de su padre. (He left because of his father.)
  • Durmió a causa de su enfermidad. (She slept because of her illness.)
  • Me escapé de casa a causa de mis padres. (I ran away from home because of my parents.)

A falta de

A phrase used in similar way when something is lacking is a falta de, meaning "due to lack of."

  • Salió a falta de dinero. (He left due to lack of money. He left because of lack of money.)
  • Habrá 24 millones de hombres solteros en China debido a falta de mujeres. (There will be 24 million single men in China because of the lack of women.)

Como

Como is used in a variety of ways, many of which can be translated by the English "as"; when used to indicate cause it comes at the beginning of the sentence.

  • Como estaba enferma, no salió. (Because she was ill, she didn't leave.)
  • Como soy estudiante, tengo los fines de semana libres. (Because I'm a student, I have my weekends free.)

Debido a, debido a que

Debido a can be translated as "due to"; the que is added when what follows could stand as a sentence.

  • Necesitan cadenas debido a la nieve. (Chains are needed because of the snow.)
  • La población está abrumada debido a que la tierra sigue temblando. (The people are weary because the ground keeps shaking.)
  • Wall Street cae debido a que los precios del crudo afectan al sector energético. (Wall Street is dropping because the prices of crude affect the energy sector.)

Dado que, ya que, en vista de que, puesto que

The phrases dado que, ya que, en vista de que, and puesto que all roughly mean "in light of the fact that" and can often be translated as "because."

  • Ya que es inteligente, no tiene que estudiar. (Because he's smart he doesn't have to study.)
  • Dado que hay pocos recursos, no puedo estudiar. (Because there aren't many resources, I can't study.)
  • Les digo un mensaje breve en vista de que estoy ocupado. (I am leaving you a brief message because I'm busy.)
  • Puesto que tengo hambre, voy a salir. (Because I am hungry I will leave.)

Gracias a

Gracias a is literally translated as "thanks to" but can also mean "because."

  • Se salvaron las tortugas gracias a Greenpeace. (The turtles were saved thanks to Greenpeace.)
  • Soy quien soy gracias a mi familia. (I am who I am because of my family.)