Quick answer
"Why" is an adverb which is often translated as "por qué", and "how" is an adverb which is often translated as "cómo". Learn more about the difference between "why" and "how" below.
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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how(
hau
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (manner)
a. cómo
How did you get here so quickly?¿Cómo llegaste tan rápido?
I don't know how to do this.No sé cómo hacer esto.
b. de qué manera
How did you put together the machine?¿De qué manera armaste la máquina?
2. (degree)
a. cuán
How tall is he?¿Cuán alto es?
It doesn't matter how talented you are; you must practice.No importa cuán talentoso seas; tienes que practicar.
b. qué tan
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
How sick is he?¿Qué tan enfermo está?
I don't know how tall he is.No sé qué tan alto es.
3. (state)
a. cómo
How is your grandmother today?¿Cómo está tu abuela hoy?
b. qué tal
How's the water?¿Qué tal el agua?
4. (in exclamations)
a. qué
How impressive!¡Qué impresionante!
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
5. (the way)
a. como
You can make the lasagna how you like. I trust you. I know you're a very good cook.Puedes hacer la lasaña como quieras. Confío en ti. Sé que eres muy buen cocinero.
A noun is a word referring to a person, animal, place, thing, feeling or idea (e.g. man, dog, house).
6. (way)
a. el cómo
(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).
If you don't know why, the how doesn't matter.Si no sabes por qué, el cómo no importa.
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