Quick answer
"Why" is an adverb which is often translated as "por qué", and "why not" is a phrase which is often translated as "por qué no". Learn more about the difference between "why" and "why not" 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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why not
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. por qué no
Why are you studying on a Friday night? Why not do something fun?¿Por qué estás estudiando el viernes por la noche? ¿Por qué no haces algo divertido?
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