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French Grammar – Tell me why Posted by on Jan 28, 2020 in Grammar, Language, Vocabulary

Recently we looked les pronoms démonstratifs. You remember, those words that help answer the question “Which ______?” This week we’ll look at how to respond to the question “Pourquoi?” using a few useful conjunctions.

Parce que

Anyone with little children is used to hearing them ask “Pourquoi?” (“Why?”). It’s a question that follows us throughout our lives. The most common way to respond to that question in French involves the conjunction parce que (because). You use parce que to introduce a reason when someone asks you pourquoi something is or isn’t, is happening or happened, etc.

Pourquoi est-ce que tu n’es pas venu hier soir? / Parce que je ne me sentais pas bien.
Why didn’t you come last night? / Because I wasn’t feeling good.

Est-ce que tu sais pourquoi Jeanne est partie si tôt? / Oui, elle est partie parce que sa mère avait besoin d’elle à la maison.
Do you know why Jeanne left so early? / Yes, she left early because her mother needed her at home.

Pourquoi est-ce que le match a été annulé? / Parce qu’il1Remember to make the elision when parce que precedes a word that starts with a vowel. va pleuvoir.
Why was the game canceled? / Because it is going to rain.


You will also encounter the word puisque introducing a cause or reason. Unlike parce que, which answers the specific question why and provides new information to someone, puisque is used when the reason or cause is already generally known, but you want someone to know the reason for an action, event, or state. Like parce que, puisque can be translated in English as because, but it really means something more like since.

Puisqu’il2Like parce que, you need to make the elision when puisque precedes a vowel. fait beau aujourd’hui, nous allons pouvoir aller à la plage.
Since it is nice out today, we will be able to go to the beach.

Puisque vous êtes déjà là, nous pouvons partir tout de suite.
Since you’re already here, we can lean right way.

Bonus à la fin

On est en plein hiver ici dans le New Hampshire et j’ai envie de m’offrir des vacances virtuelles. Une bonne raison pour un petit saut au sud de la France avec Josef Salvat. 3Click here if you’d like to see the same song/video in English.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris

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