Does ‘perché’ mean ‘because’ or ‘why’ in Italian?

We often get asked at Daily Italian Words: does the word perché mean because or why in Italian? The answer to that is: both!

Does "Perché" mean "Because" or "Why" in Italian?

Perché is made up of two words: per (for) and che (that). It can function as an interrogative adverb, allowing you to ask the question why, or as a subordinating conjunction, linking a main clause to a subordinate clause, much like the English because.

Of course, it is possible to begin a sentence with the conjunction perché if the main clause is obvious from the context. In the second sentence below, for instance, there is no need to repeat the information non vado al lavoro perché…(I’m not going to work because…)

Unsure Afro American woman, looks doubtful
Perché sei qui? = Why are you here?

Note that “because of” cannot be translated using the conjunction perché. Instead, you need to use one of the following expressions:

  • a causa di (due to)
  • per causa di (due to)
  • per via di (as a result of)
  • per colpa di (for the fault of)

Did you know that perché isn’t the only way to translate “because“? Below are a few other words that can replace perché, ranging from the most informal to formal.


dato che (seeing as, since)
visto che (seeing that)
per il semplice fatto che (due to the simple fact that)
siccome (since, given that)
poiché (since, seeing as)


Newlyweds are greeted with festive confetti.
L’ha sposato perché lo ama. = She married him because she loves him.

To conclude, let’s look at a couple of very common synonyms for perché when used as an interrogative adverb: come mai (why) and per quale motivo/ragione (for what reason). The former is used very frequently, especially in colloquial speech, whereas the latter is a little more formal.

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