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3 Vote

"¿Para qué estudias en la universidad?" This is confusing for me. What does it mean - what are you studying? for what reason are you studying? for what purpose? why? Thanks

  • Posted Feb 23, 2013
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5 Answers

4 Vote

"Para qué" means "for what"

"Para que" means "so that"

Example:

No entiendo para qué estudias en la universidad/I don't understand what you're studying for in college.

Estoy estudiando en la universidad para que mi familia tenga un buen futuro/I'm studying in college so that my family can have a good future.

3 Vote

Many times when we ask "¿Para qué .........?" we are voicing disaproval of something that the listener is doing, similar to saying "What´s the use?"

  • Interesting. So even in cases where one could choose eithe por qué or para qué, you´d say there´s a bit of a negative connotation with para qué? Thanks. I´d never have noticed that. - rogspax Feb 24, 2013 flag
1 Vote

Think about it literrally: Para = for, qué = what. This is more specific than ¿Por qué?

1 Vote

I find that when I see "para" if I translate it as , " in order to "

then I am usually right , but not always , and it is the "not always"

that troubles me.

  • That is correct in the context 'para que...' when explaining something. ¿Para qué...? as a question means what's been explained above (and below) - easy to distinguish betwixt the two due to the context. - afowen Feb 24, 2013 flag
0 Vote

My understanding is that:

"¿por qué?" means "why?" (for what reason)

"para qué" means "why?" (for what purpose)

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