How to use PERCHÉ in Italian

How do you use the word perché in Italian? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?

In this lesson, we will look at how to use this word along with many audio recordings and example sentences. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

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Perché in Italian

What is perché?

Perché is both an adverb and a conjunction. It has different meanings.

The most common meaning is why and because, so you use to ask or explain why something happens. Differently from English, there’s no distinction between questions and statements in Italian. It can also mean “so that”.

Perché
Why, because; since; so that

Its pronunciation is close to pehr-keh, with the accent on the final é. If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, especially the rolled R, refer to the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see a couple of example sentences with perché in Italian, before taking a look at how to use this word.

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Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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Perché hai chiuso la finestra?
Perché hai chiuso la finestra?

Ho aperto la porta perché c’era troppo caldo nella stanza.
I opened the door because it was too hot in the room.

Marta lasciò la finestra aperta perché il gatto entrasse.
Marta left the window open so that the cat could get in.

Ti conviene sbrigarti perché la banca chiuderà fra poco.
You better hurry because the bank will be closing soon.

woman withdrawing money at an atm

Now let’s see what the use of perché in Italian is.


Use of perché in Italian

We’ve said that perché in Italian has more than one meaning. First, it translates to both “why” and “because”.

Perché quel bambino sta piangendo?
Why is that little boy crying?

Perché è caduto dalla bici.
Because he fell off his bike.

Perché is not used to translate “because of”. That’s what the prepositions per and a causa di are for.

Stefano prende sempre in giro Marco per il suo dialetto.
Stefano always makes fun of Marco because of his dialect.

Mio papà non è a Berlino in vacanza, ma per lavoro.
My dad is not in Berlin on vacation but on business.

La gita è stata annullata a causa di una terribile tempesta.
The trip was canceled because of a terrible storm.

storm at sea and a ship in the middle of tidal waves

If you need an explanation for something but don’t want to use perché in Italian, you can use one of these synonyms (in questions only):

  • come mai? (how come?)
  • per quale motivo/ragione? (for what reason?

Come mai non sei venuto alla festa ieri sera?
How come you didn’t come to the party last night?

Per quale ragione non sei venuto alla partita?
For what reason did you not come to the game?

If you want to explain why something happened with a statement, you can also use the synonyms poiché, dato che and siccome. Siccome and dato che are pretty common synonyms for perché in Italian, but you’ll find poiché mostly in books. They can also start a sentence, translating “since”, but cannot be used in questions.

Non andai a scuola poiché avevo l’influenza.
I did not go to school as I had the flu.

Dato che il museo era chiuso, siamo andati all’ipermercato
Since the museum was closed, we went to the hypermarket.

Non ho mangiato nulla poiché non avevo fame.
I did not eat anything since I was not hungry.

Siccome sono tornato a casa a mezzanotte, ho fatto tardi a scuola.
Since I came home at midnight, I was late for school.

school yard

When it translates “so that”, perché is interchangeable with affinché and is followed by a subjunctive tense. Here are a couple of examples.

Ho sgridato mio figlio perché capisse che non deve fare capricci al supermercato.
I scolded my son so that he would understand that he should not throw tantrums in the supermarket.
(Capisse is a past subjunctive conjugation of capire, to understand)

Paolo va dal dottore perché gli dica cosa prendere per il mal di schiena.
Paul goes to the doctor so that he tells him what to take for back pain.
(Dica is a present subjunctive conjugation of dire, to say)

doctor talking to a patient

And that’s it, now you know how to use perché in Italian!


What next?

Now that you’ve seen how to use perché in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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