Quick answer
"Which" is a pronoun which is often translated as "cuál", and "why" is an adverb which is often translated as "por qué". Learn more about the difference between "which" and "why" below.
which(
wihch
)
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
1. (in questions)
a. cuál
Which are the classes that interest you this semester?¿Cuáles son las clases que te interesan este semestre?
Which do you prefer? The pasta or the salad?¿Cuál prefieres? ¿La pasta o la ensalada?
2. (in relative clauses)
a. que
The invitation, which was mailed to you, is for our wedding.La invitación, que se te mandó, es para nuestra boda.
b. el cual
The village has a castle, which dates from the 12th century.El pueblo tiene un castillo, el cual data del siglo XII.
c. la cual
The actor's house, which is on top of a hill, has a wonderful view of LA.La casa del actor, la cual está en lo alto de una colina, tiene unas vistas maravillosas de Los Ángeles.
d. lo cual
She didn't support me when I needed her, which made me realize that she wasn't a real friend.No me apoyó cuando la necesité, lo cual me hizo pensar que no era una amiga de verdad.
e. los cuales
There are several books on the subject, which are available in the library.Existen varios libros sobre el tema, los cuales están disponibles en la biblioteca.
f. las cuales
He explained it using some scientific words, which I have forgotten.Lo explicó con unas palabras científicas, las cuales no recuerdo.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
3. (in questions)
a. qué
Which type of food do you want to serve at the party?¿Qué tipo de comida quieres servir en la fiesta?
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why(
way
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (in questions)
a. por qué
Why are you crying?¿Por qué lloras?
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
2. (in relative clauses)
a. por qué
I don't know why she left me.No sé por qué me dejó.
A noun is a word referring to a person, animal, place, thing, feeling or idea (e.g. man, dog, house).
3. (explanation)
a. el porqué
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
Do you really want to know why?¿De verdad quieres saber el porqué?
An interjection is a short utterance that expresses emotion, hesitation, or protest (e.g. Wow!).
4. (well)
a. vaya
Why! Look who just arrived!¡Vaya! ¡Mira quién acaba de llegar!
b. anda
Why, surely you don't think Anna stole your ring!Anda, ¡no pensarás que Anna te robó el anillo!
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