warningsign(No) porque + subjuntivo

A common stumbling block for English-speaking learners of Spanish is the use of the subjunctive after the conjunction porque. English is simpler in this respect and, as a result, can be ambiguous.

Consider the sentence 'I didn't go because I was tired'. This could be interpreted as 'no fui porque estaba cansado' - 'the reason I didn't go is because I was tired' or 'no me fui porque estuviera cansado' - 'the reason I went was not that I was tired'. Use of a comma and a pause, or a change in intonation, would avoid confusion in English. It's easier to see when the sentence is reworded to say no porque.1-2

 

1) No la besó porque la amaba (no la besó) — He didn't kiss her, because he loved her  [See porque con/sin coma]

No la besó porque la amara (la besó por otro motivo) — He didn't kiss her (just) because he loved her

→La besó. No porque la amara, sino porque estaba cachondo — He kissed her. Not (just) because he loved her, but because he was horny

 

2) No lo hice porque me lo pidió ella (no lo hice) — I didn't do it, because she asked me not to

No lo hice porque me lo pidiera ella (lo hice por otro motivo) — I didn't do it (just) because she asked me to

 

3) Mira, porque eres policía yo no tengo que aguantar esa mierda— Look, because you're a policeman, I don't have to put up with that crap

Mira, porque seas policía yo no tengo que aguantar esta mierda Look,  just because you're a policeman, I don't have to put up with this crap [Order inverted: ≈No tengo que aguantar esto porque seas policía]

 

4) Engordamos, pero no (es) porque comamos gluten, sino porque comemos demasiado — We get fat, but it's not because we eat gluten. It's because we eat too much

 

5) Esta cena está riquísima, y no lo digo porque la haya hecho yo — This meal is lovely; and I'm not saying that just because I made it

 

In English we can add just to show that, despite not being the reason, what is being said is indeed true; this distinction is not always clear in Spanish, where the fact may or may not be true.3 [See example in Economía colaborativa]

-No lo digo porque tenga algo que esconder — I'm not saying this (just) because I have something to hide [With 'just' we are saying that 'I do have something to hide', but that something is not the reason for 'saying this']

 

-No lo hice porque necesitara el dinero — I didn't do it (just) because I needed the money [With 'just' we are saying that 'I did need the money', but that need was not the reason for doing it]

 

A similar situation arises with the interrogative, especially in rhetorical questions, where the speaker is skeptical about the reason for doing something.4

-¿Tú crees que lo voy a hacer porque él me lo pida? — Do you think I'm going to do it just because he asks me to? [≈No lo voy a hacer porque él me lo pida]
-O sea que, ¿porque ese niño tenga pánico yo me tengo que esconder? — You mean, just because he has panic attacks I have to hide?

 

-Tienes que hincar los codos más si quieres triunfar  -Bueno, porque tú lo digas — You have to knuckle down more if you want to be successful -Right, if you say so / because you say so [No hay pregunta expresa, pero se esconde una interrogativa en cuanto al motivo de hacer algo: ¿Tengo que hincar los codos más porque tú lo digas?]

 

Finally, when the 'por' in porque is part of a complemento de régimen, (i.e. the verb requires it) rather than a complemento circunstancial, then the verb goes in subjunctive. In this case it be seen written as one word (porque) or separately (por que).5

-Aboga porque / por que haya una renta básica universal

 

-Se preocupa porque / por que yo tenga suficiente dinero — He makes sure I have enough money [Complemento de régimen]

→Se preocupa porque no tengo suficiente dinero — He worries because I don't have enough money [Complemento circunstancial]

 

En La Prensa

La señora aclara que no lo hizo porque quisiera sino a petición de los propios militantes del “Sol Azteca” que le suplicaron NORESTE-Feb 13, 2017

Según ha explicado a preguntas del fiscal, no lo hizo porque no lo consideró "pertinente" infoLibre-Feb 7, 2017

Creo que le va muy bien así, y no lo digo porque tenga éxito, lo digo porque ella misma ha dicho que es feliz. El Mundo Feb 16, 2017

Y no lo digo porque yo sea su madre, que también, sino por lo valiente y fuerte que es mi hija y por la manera en la que está viviendo esta ... La Rioja-Apr 25, 2017

 

In Español Avanzado Articles

-Superalimentos

-Victor Küper TED Talk

 

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-no porque + subjuntivo-