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Porque and Hasta

What’s the difference between “because” and “because of” in Spanish? Let’s talk about porque versus por, as well as the several different meanings of hasta.

Full Podcast Episode


Listen until the end, because this vocabulary is worth it!

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn 6 new words, all of which are pretty easy to use.

Let’s start with two new conjunctions. But to begin with, let’s revisit the preposition por, which means “by” or “because of”. This word tends to talk about either the source of something or the idea of being near something.

To say “I’m here because of food”, you would say estoy aquí por food.

In English, we use the word “because” to indicate all kinds of reasons for something. For example, you might want to say “I’m here because he’s here”.

In this case, we can’t use por, because prepositions are always simply followed by some sort of noun. In this case, we’re following it with an entire sentence: “he’s here”. So what we need is a conjunction.

Let’s try using the favorite word of the Spanish language, the conjunction que. Remember that a que phrase is often used as a noun in a sentence. We explored this back in episode 11. For example, instead of saying “food is strange”, where “food” is clearly the noun in the sentence, we can say “that he is here is strange”. The phrase “that he is here” would be a que phrase. And we’re using the whole que phrase, the fact that he’s here, as a noun.

Let’s do that in the sentence we were just looking at. “I’m here because of food” could be replaced with “I’m here because of que he is here. Here’s what we get: Estoy aquí por que él está aquí.

So let’s take a second to study this and break this down a little bit. The word por is there to indicate the reason for something, and we can follow it with either a noun (“por food”) or a que phrase (por que él está aquí).

But actually, proper Spanish doesn’t exactly do this. Instead, the words por and que in these situations are always put together into one word, our new conjunction porque.

So here’s the sentence:

Estoy aquí porque él está aquí.

To oversimplify a bit, the word porque simply means “because”. This applies in many cases, except when you say “because OF”, in which case you’ll simply use por. This little subtlety can confuse English speakers a lot. Essentially, here’s what happens:

because of = por

because (without “of”) = porque

So basically, the longer English phrase, “because of”, turns into the short, simple Spanish word por. But the shorter English phrase, “because” by itself, turns into the longer Spanish word porque.

One way or another, you now have the conjunction porque, which can be used between two phrases just like any other conjunction. To review all of our conjunctions, let’s use this sentence structure:

He shouts and she’s here.

We can change this to:

He shouts y she’s here.

He shouts que she’s here.

He shouts si she’s here.

He shouts pero she’s here.

He shouts cuando she’s here.

He shouts o she’s here.

He shouts porque she’s here.

Now let’s review something we learned about the word o. We’ve learned that it can mean both “or” and “either”, when you’re about to list things with o between them. For example,

Either he or she is here.

O él o ella está aquí.

We have a new word to learn that is very much like the word o. It’s a very simple and short word, the word ni. This word means both “neither” and “nor”. In other words, it’s sort of the opposite of the word o, and it’s used in the exact same way. As an example:

Neither he nor she is here.

Ni él ni ella están aquí.

Now in English, we say “is”, but in Spanish, if you list both items using ni, you tend to conjugate verbs in the plural. So literally “neither he nor she are here”.

The word ni is much more common in Spanish than the words “neither” and “nor” are in English. We don’t use those words much in English, but you’ll see them used a lot in Spanish, especially in specific idiomatic contexts that we’ll cover soon. For example, check out this sentence, where we’re using “either” and “or”, but in a negative context:

It wasn’t either a boy or a girl.

In Spanish, because of double negatives, we would use ni.

No era ni un chico ni una chica.

Note that we now have three conjunctions that tend to be used between items in a list. We have y for “and”, o for “or”, and ni for “nor”. So let’s use this sentence template and interchange them:

Ni él ni ella están aquí.

O él o ella está aquí.

Él y ella están aquí.

Note that for the most part, as a conjunction, this word ni is really only used like this, between items in a list. This is important to point out, because we were previously using this sentence to practice all of our conjunctions: He shouts y she’s here, he shouts que she’s here, and so on.

But we can’t use ni in this example. Ni is a rare example of a conjunction that actually can’t simply be placed between two sentences to combine them into a longer sentence — it just doesn’t make any sense. He shouts nor she’s here? It doesn’t really work.

Also, English speakers should note that in a lot of situations where you would say “neither”, it doesn’t actually translate to ni. For example, we often say “me neither” and things like that, ending a sentence with the word “neither”. In these cases, this isn’t the word ni; we’re actually using “neither” as an adverb, not a conjunction, and there’s a different word in Spanish for that adverb.

So for now, just use ni in the sentence template “neither this nor that”.

Let’s practice ni, por, and porque with a mini-quiz.

I have to go because of him.

Tengo que ir por él.

Neither this nor that was here.

Ni esto ni eso estaban aquí.

He doesn’t have either this or that.

No tiene ni esto ni eso.

He’s here because he has it(f).

Está aquí porque la tiene.

They have to be here because of you.

Tienen que estar aquí por ti.

The man has it because of the favor.

El hombre lo tiene por el favor.

They are here because they are good.

Están aquí porque son buenos.

Neither the girl nor the woman were here.

Ni la chica ni la mujer estaban aquí.

All right, next let’s learn another pretty simple word, the pronoun ¿quién?, which means who? in a question. This is spelled q-u-i-e-n, but the U is silent, and there’s an accent mark on the E. ¿Quién?

The easiest way to use this word is as the subject of what would be a sentence, but with question marks to make it a question. We already know how to do this with the word qué, which also replaces a noun in a sentence that turns into a question. For example, instead of saying “food is here”, you might say “What is here?” or ¿Qué está aquí?

Let’s change this from food to people. We COULD say “she is here”, which would be ella está aquí. But to turn it into a question, we can change it to “who is here?” and add question marks.

Who is here?

¿Quién está aquí?

Our next word is the preposition hasta, spelled h-a-s-t-a. This word roughly means “until”, but there’s some more nuance to it. The word “until” in English is used to emphasize the events leading up to a moment in time. For example, “I had it until three o’clock”, which would be lo tuve hasta las tres. As another example, “he was here until that day” would be estuvo aquí hasta ese día.

These sentences do a good job of following the rules of prepositions, with the word hasta right before a noun.

Now, in English, we can also use the word “until” between two phrases, as a conjunction. For example, “I was here until she left”. In this sentence, right after “until”, we have the sentence “she left”. In Spanish, you can’t put “she left” right after hasta, because hasta is only a preposition, and prepositions need either a noun or a que phrase right after them. So what we’re going to do is change this from “I was here until she left” to “I was here until que she left”: Estuve aquí hasta que se fue.

This is how you always use hasta if there’s a whole statement or description after it. It turns into hasta que.

So let’s do a mini-quiz to see if you can predict whether you’d use hasta or hasta que in each of these situations. Don’t worry about the rest of the Spanish in each sentence; just focus on the part that translates from “until”.

We’ll think about it until your party.

We’ll think about it hasta your party.

We’ll think about it until your party happens.

We’ll think about it hasta que your party happens.

She was here until he did it.

She was here hasta que he did it.

I was happy until yesterday.

I was happy hasta yesterday.

If you’re up to the challenge of letting it get even more complicated, there’s one more nuance we can practice about hasta que right now. When you use these two words together, they behave kind of like our word cuando, meaning “when”. Recall that when cuando refers to a future event, you have to put that event in the subjunctive. For example:

I’m going to leave when she’s here.

Me voy a ir cuando ella esté aquí.

Well, the phrase hasta que behaves the same way. If it refers to the future, the phrase after que has to be subjunctive. For example:

I’m going to be unwell until she’s here.

Voy a estar mal hasta que ella esté aquí.

Let’s practice hasta using a mini-quiz.

I am here until 2.

Estoy aquí hasta las dos.

They were there until he left.

Estaban ahí hasta que él se fue.

They had it until the afternoon.

Lo tenían hasta la tarde.

I will have it until she leaves.

Lo tendré hasta que ella se vaya.

He will be here until the evening.

Estará aquí hasta la noche.

Now, to wrap up, let’s talk about adverbs a little bit. We’ve learned that many adverbs can pretty much just be thrown into an existing sentence to add information. For example, to say “he has it”, you can simply say él lo tiene. But to add information about WHERE he has it, we can put the word “here”, or aquí, either at the beginning or at the end.

Él lo tiene aquí.

Aquí él lo tiene.

But there are some adverbs that are kind of picky about where they go in a sentence. To negate this sentence, we throw in the word “not”, or no, and this word specifically wants to go right after the subject and before the verb structure. Of course, in the sentence we just used, we also can’t separate lo from tiene, so the word no will go right before lo tiene.

Él no lo tiene.

Let’s learn two more adverbs that tend to be used in fairly specific ways. Very often, these words place emphasis on a noun to add information about what’s surprising or interesting about that noun. I’ll show you what I mean using a new sentence:

She is here.

Ella está aquí.

Now let’s imagine that we are a little surprised that she specifically is here. In English, we might say: “Even she is here!”

The word “even” is placing strong emphasis on the subject, “she”. If we restructured it to “she’s even here”, the meaning may be roughly the same, but the emphasis is no longer on the subject “she”. Instead it’s on the fact that she’s here. So notice the difference between these two sentences: “Even she is here” versus “She is even here.”

So how do we say these things in Spanish? We’ll use a word that’s going to be familiar to you: The word hasta. So here are these two sentences:

Even she is here.

Hasta ella está aquí.

She is even here.

Ella hasta está aquí.

This word, hasta, is not the same word that we learned earlier in this episode. We previously learned the preposition hasta, which means “until”. But this new word is best thought of as a completely different word. This word is an adverb, and it means “even”, emphasizing surprise about something.

Now, there’s actually a whole category of adverbs that are used this way, typically right before a noun. We’ve already learned the most common of these, the word solo, which means “only”. Another very common one is the word también, which means “also”. This is spelled t-a-m-b-i-e-n, with an accent over the E. También.

So we have solo, meaning “only”, hasta, meaning “even”, and también, meaning “also”. Here is how our sentence template might be modified.

Only she is here.

Solo ella está aquí.

Also she is here.

También ella está aquí.

All three of these words are easiest to use right before a noun, but también and solo are pretty flexible. Solo is used pretty much exactly like the English word “only”, and también can be used in pretty much any way that the English word “also” can be used, including at the end of a sentence. That’s not true of hasta, which is almost always used right before a noun or maybe a short phrase that you’re trying to emphasize.

Let’s do a mini-quiz to practice these uses of hasta, también, and solo before we go on to the final quiz.

Even he is nice.

Hasta él es bueno.

Actually, you have it also.

En verdad, tú lo tienes también.

Note in that example that we would be more likely to translate this as “too” rather than “also”. The word también means “also”, “too”, or “as well”, all of which mean basically the same thing in English. Try this one:

I have had that too.

Yo he tenido eso también.

I only have one.

Solo tengo uno.

Even this afternoon is good.

Hasta esta tarde es buena.

She even has it.

Ella hasta lo tiene.

If you’re feeling comfortable with this, let’s go on to today’s final quiz to practice porque, ni, hasta, quién, and también.

It couldn’t hurt to have even one more.

No está de más tener hasta uno más.

If I were at home, I would have it.

Si estuviera en casa, lo tendría.

I was the captain(m) of that game(m).

Fui el captain de ese game.

Fui el capitán de ese juego.

Who was here until that day?

¿Quién estaba aquí hasta ese día?

He wanted me to be his friend and to have time for him.

He wanted que yo fuera su amigo y que tuviera tiempo para él.

Quería que yo fuera su amigo y que tuviera tiempo para él.

There are three extra girls here.

Hay tres chicas de más aquí.

I have to call my friend because he has a bit of everything in his house.

Tengo que call a mi amigo porque tiene de todo en su casa.

Tengo que llamar a mi amigo porque tiene de todo en su casa.

It wasn’t either a mistake or an accident at all.

No fue ni a mistake ni an accident para nada.

No fue ni un error ni un accidente para nada.

You were the one(m) who was there that day.

Fuiste el que estaba ahí ese día.

If she also went, it would be a problem because it’s late.

Si ella también fuera, sería a problem porque it’s late.

Si ella también fuera, sería un problema porque es tarde.

Who will be here until we leave?

¿Quién estará aquí hasta que nos vayamos?

If I had even one more, it would be better.

Si tuviera hasta uno más, sería mejor.

If she also were your friend, it would be good.

Si ella también fuera tu amiga, sería bueno.

They’ll be here until we leave.

Estarán aquí hasta que nos vayamos.

They were friends for a few years.

Fueron amigos por unos años.

We weren’t either the winners or the losers.

No fuimos ni the winners ni the losers.

No fuimos ni los ganadores ni los perdedores.

I’m not leaving; instead of that, I’ll be here until you leave.

No me voy, en vez de eso, estaré aquí hasta que te vayas.

She wanted me to go with her.

She wanted que fuera con ella.

Quería que fuera con ella.

She doesn’t move until I tell her this.

No she moves hasta que le I tell esto.

No se mueve hasta que le digo esto.

She wished I was with them(m).

Ella wished que yo estuviera con ellos.

Ella deseaba que yo estuviera con ellos.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/59, or tune in tomorrow for another big quiz to practice everything we’ve been working on lately on this show.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was provided by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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