DON’T Say PORQUE, say THESE 4 Alternatives Instead!

DON’T Say PORQUE, say THESE 4 Alternatives Instead!

ALEJANDRA
Este año necesitamos trabajar extra porque el año pasado no se alcanzaron las metas planteadas. Entendemos que también ha sido así porque hemos pasado por dos años de pandemia.
(This year we need to work extra because last year we did not meet our goals. We understand that has also been the case because we have gone through 2 years of pandemic.)

MAURA
¿Por qué recae tanta responsabilidad en nuestro departamento y no en el de finanzas?
(Why does so much responsibility fall on our department and not on the finance department?)

ALEJANDRA
Buena pregunta, Maura. La respuesta corta es porque se necesitarán estrategias muy creativas que estén fuera del formato establecido hasta ahora y ¿quién mejor que nosotros para ello?
(Good question, Maura. The short answer is because it will require very creative strategies that are outside of the format established so far and who better to do that than us?)

MAURA
O sea, básicamente tendremos que resolverlo solos porque ningún otro departamento trabaja con esa área.
(In other words, we will basically have to solve it on our own because no other department works with that area.)

I’m sure you’ve noticed I repeated “porque” one way or another far too many times in the same dialogue. Though there’s nothing wrong with using “porque”, you might find yourself repeating it way too much if you don’t know any alternatives for it.

In speaking, it gets annoying, in serious writing, it’s downright wrong. Therefore, we’ve made this video so you can know how to substitute this very useful word for other expressions that will certainly improve your Spanish game!

Ready? Yo soy Maura, de Spring Spanish and here are our 4 best options for “porque”. ¡Empecemos!

1. Debido a (Due to)

ALEJANDRA
Debido a los ajustes de presupuesto acarreados por la pandemia, es imperativo buscar soluciones alternativas a cuanto sea necesario.
(Due to the budget adjustments caused by the pandemic, it is imperative to seek alternative solutions to whatever is necessary.)

MAURA
Es decir que: no gasten dinero si pueden evitarlo.
(Meaning: don’t spend money if you can avoid it.)

ALEJANDRA
Sí, pero sobre todo, se trata de invertir lo que sí podemos gastar en donde se note más, para no dar resultados que obviamente se deban a la falta de presupuesto.
(Yes, but above all, it is about investing what we can spend where it is more noticeable so as not to give results that are obviously due to a lack of budget.)

MAURA
Entendido, Ale. Que parezca que se debe a una decisión creativa y no financiers.
(Understood, Ale. So it appears to be due to a creative and not a financial decision.)

As you can see in this dialogue, debido a (due to) might hold the same meaning as porque (because) but you’d likely be replacing a por (for) rather than a porque (because) . For example, in the sentence:

  • Que parezca que se debe a una decisión creativa y no financiera. (So it appears to be due to a creative and not a financial decision.)

We could replace se debe a (is due to) for a por (for), not a porque (because). The result would be:

  • Que parezca que es por una decisión creativa y no financiera. (So it appears to be due to a creative and not a financial decision.)

At the same time, you can either use its impersonal version, like: Debido a los ajustes de presupuesto acarreados por la pandemia… (Due to the budget adjustments caused by the pandemic…) or conjugate it as in: Que parezca que se debe a una decisión creativa. (So it appears to be due to a creative and not a financial decision.)

Chunk Alert!

¡Let’s talk about that es decir que (meaning)! I know, because I do it all the time, that is very common and almost necessary to use “meaning” in English. For you to be able to use the same idea in Spanish, you should learn es decir que. The good thing about es decir que, is that though you could also translate “meaning” with o sea, o sea is actually quite informal. Es decir que can be both! So you can use it while talking to your friends as confidently as you can use it in more serious environments and even in writing.

Es decir que, no dudes en incluirlo en tu arsenal de chunks. (Meaning, don’t hesitate to include it in your arsenal of chunks.) Para completar ese arsenal (To complete that arsenal), make sure to download our free Essential Spanish Chunking kit, it’s right there in that link in the description!

2. Puesto que y ya que (Because)

I’m pairing these two because both use the word que (that), they can both be translated as “because” and because this way it’ll be easier for you to remember. Take a look at them in action:

ALEJANDRA
Puesto que somos solo cuatro personas en el equipo y son muchas etapas del proceso, todas tendremos que asumir el liderazgo de una de ellas.
(Because there are only 4 of us on the team and there are many steps in the process, we will all have to take the lead in one of them.)

MAURA
Si me permites, yo me postulo para liderar la ejecución de la piezas audiovisuales, ya que creo tener todos los contactos que vamos a necesitar para ello.
(If you allow me, I nominate myself to lead the execution of the audiovisual pieces because I believe I have all the contacts we are going to need for it.)

ALEJANDRA
Perfecto, Maura. Ya que vas a hacer eso, por favor contacta con la misma agencia de iluminación de la última vez.
(Perfect, Maura. Because you’re going to do that, please contact the same lighting agency as last time.)

MAURA
¡Claro! Seguro nos resuelven puesto que la última vez quedaron súper contentos con nosotros.
(Sure! They will surely solve it because last time they were super happy with us.)

These two can also work well in both formal and informal contexts, just as in writing. That being said, for me, as a Venezuelan, puesto que is less common in spoken language, we tend to use this mostly in writing. Ya que is definitely more natural for me to use while speaking.

Before we continue, stick around if you want to learn at the end of this video how come the word como (how) can actually become a porque (because).

So far we’ve talked about alternatives that better substitute the idea of “because”. In other words, after using: debido a, puesto que y ya que (due to and since) you add a reason:

  • No pudimos nadar más debido a la lluvia. (We could not swim anymore due to the rain.)
  • Decidimos no asumir nada puesto que no teníamos suficiente información. (We decided not to assume anything since we did not have enough information.)
  • Ya que no comen carne, vamos a escoger un restaurante con muchas opciones vegetarianas. (Since they don’t eat meat, we will choose a restaurant with many vegetarian options.)

3. Por tanto (Therefore)

When it comes to por tanto (therefore), this would actually better respond to the idea of “which is why”. The easy difference with the previous chunks would be that here, the reason you’re referring to comes before, and not after as it does with the other alternatives we’ve seen so far. Much like it would happen if you use “therefore” or “thus” in English.

ALEJANDRA
Tenemos solo dos semanas para completar la propuesta. Por tanto, tenemos que empezar con la preproducción hoy mismo.
(We have only 2 weeks to complete the proposal. Therefore, we have to start with pre-production today.)

MAURA
Sin problema. Ahora, recuerda que tenemos una charla con la directiva a las tres de la tarde. Por tanto, no podemos empezar con esto hasta el final del día. Si es que salimos a tiempo de la charla.
(No problem. Now, remember that we have a talk with the board at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Therefore, we can’t get started on this until the end of the day. If it is that we make it out of the meeting on time.)

Notice how we state the reason before, as in: …tenemos una charla con la directiva a las tres de la tarde… (…we have a talk with the board at 3 o’clock in the afternoon…) and only then we use por tanto. What comes after por tanto is a consequence, not a reason: Por tanto, no podemos empezar con esto hasta el final del día. (Therefore, we can’t get started on this until the end of the day.)

Here are a couple more examples:

  • Está haciendo demasiado calor este verano. Por tanto, yo cambié mi horario de trabajo. (It is getting too hot this summer. Therefore, I changed my work schedule.)
  • Quisiera viajar al menos un par de veces más este año. Por tanto, tengo que ahorrar un poco más y organizarme un montón. (I would like to travel at least a couple more times this year. Therefore, I have to save a little more and organize a lot.)

Practice

Let’s see if you understood the order in which you’d use these chunks by practicing with the following.

Fill in the blanks with debido a (due to) and por tanto (therefore):

  1. No puedo esperar más de diez minutos. ______________, si no estás lista a tiempo, me voy a tener que ir. (I can’t wait more than 10 minutes. Therefore, if you are not ready in time, I will have to leave.)
  2. _____________ las altas temperaturas, la mayoría de la gente se va de Madrid en verano. (Due to the high temperatures, most v)

4. Como (Since)

Here’s that weird thing that can happen in Spanish when, in some specific circumstances, como (how) can mean porque (because).

ALEJANDRA
Como tenemos a los pasantes durante este mes, podemos saltarnos la charla y mandarlos a ellos en nuestro lugar.  
(Since we have interns during this month, we can skip the talk and send them in our place.)

MAURA
No lo había pensado, pero como igual no tenemos que intervenir, podemos pedirles un reporte y es lo mismo que haber ido.
(I hadn’t thought about it, but because at the same time we don’t have to intervene, we can ask them for a report and it’s the same as having gone.)

ALEJANDRA
¡Exactamente! Y como de cualquier forma todos saben que nos estamos encargando de esto, tampoco les va a extrañar que mandemos a los pasantes.  
(Exactly! And because everyone knows we’re taking care of this anyway, they’re not going to be surprised if we send the interns either. )

Do not try to understand this by finding a link between this como (how) and “how” in English. There is none. Just know that you can use any of these chunks and even substitute the reason after it to justify anything you want. So you can say things like:

  • Como me mancho un montón con el sol, siempre me pongo protector solar. (Because I get a lot of sun spots, I always wear sunscreen.)
  • Me dijo que no se sentía como para salir, pero como yo sé que no le cae bien la gente con la que íbamos, no le insistí. (He told me he didn’t feel like going out, but because I know he doesn’t like the people we were going with, I didn’t insist.)
  • Me muero del hambre, pero cómo vamos a salir a cenar pronto, prefiero esperar. (I’m starving, but because we’re going out for dinner soon, I’d rather wait.)

Remember I told you in another video to get ready for many heat related examples? I wasn’t kidding. By the way, we only covered one type of “porque” in this video. There are actually 4 😱. Learn what each of them means and when to use them and how to tell them apart here.

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