Why in Italian simplified guide

Why In Italian – Uses, Ways To Say It, With Pronunciation & Examples



What Is Why In Italian?

Why in Italian translates to “perché”. 

Below you can see the Italian spelling and a pronunciation guide for English speakers. I will later share clips of me pronouncing it, so you can practice along.

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Before diving deeper into “perché” uses and all the ways to say why in Italian, let’s look at a few introductory examples.

Perché Examples

Perché mi hai chiamato? – Why did you call me?

Perché avevo voglia di sentirti. – Because I wanted to hear from you.

La mamma è andata al supermercato perché manca il latte.
Mum has gone to the supermarket because we are missing milk.

Dimmi perché non sei andato a scuola. – Tell me why you didn’t go to school.

Functions Of Why (Perché) In Italian

Why (perché) has many functions in the Italian language. Let’s look at the main five:

1. It’s a question word.

In Italian, we call it “ avverbio interrogativo” (interrogative adverb). In this case, it’s used to ask a question about the cause of an action, an event or an intention.

Perché sei arrabbiato? – Why are you angry?

Perché non ha mangiato a cena? – Why didn’t he/she eat dinner?

Perché non è venuta alla festa? – Why didn’t he/she come to the party?

Perché piove così tanto oggi? – Why is it raining so much today?

Perché ha bisogno di aiuto? – Why does he/she need help?

2. It’s an answer word.

Yes, in Italian we use the same word to ask a question and answer it. So you can use perché to explain the cause of an event, an action, a statement, or an intention, or anything else.

Sono arrabbiato perché ho perso il mio portafoglio. – Because I lost my wallet.

Filippo non ha mangiato perché non aveva fame. – Because he/she wasn’t hungry.

Maria non è venuta alla festa perché aveva altri impegni.
Because he/she had other commitments.

Piove tanto perché c’è una bassa pressione atmosferica.
Because there is low atmospheric pressure.

Ha bisogno di aiuto perché si è ferito/a. – Because he/she got injured.

3. It can mean and replace for which.

Perche can be used to replace per cui, per il quale, and per la quale – meaning for which. Per is a proposition and cui, quale are relative pronouns. 

È stata la ragione perché abbiamo cambiato idea sulle vacanze. 
That was the reason why we changed our minds about the vacation.
Non so il motivo perché tu abbia deciso di non venire. 
I don’t know the reason why you decided not to come.

4. It can act as a noun.

If you are asking the why (il perché) for something, then the why is acting as a noun (nome or sostantivo in Italian). You can recognize that function by the article that precedes perché (il). Other articles that can accompany perché in this case are indefinite (un perché) and partitive (del perché).

In this case, il perché is replacing the words – the cause, the reason, the motif, etc; or a cause, a reason, a motif; or of the cause, of the reason, of the motif.

Non capisco un perché così irrazionale.
I don’t understand a reason so irrational.

Dobbiamo analizzare i dettagli del perché il progetto è fallito.
We need to analyze the details of the reason why the project failed. 

Voglio conoscere il perché di questa situazione confusa. 
I want to know the reason for this confusing situation.

Mi dai un perché del tuo atteggiamento? 
Can you give me a reason for your attitude?

Il filosofi si occupano spesso del perché dell’esistenza umana. 
Philosophers often deal with the reason for human existence.

5. It can be used to imply “so that” (affinché). 

In certain cases, perché is used instead of the conjunction affinché (so that). You can recognize this function by the subjunctive verb that follows.

Studia tanto perché possa superare l’esame.
He studies a lot in order to pass the exam.

Ha lavorato duramente perché la sua famiglia potesse vivere bene. 
He worked hard so that his family could live well.

Abbiamo risparmiato denaro perché possiamo permetterci una vacanza. 
We saved money so that we can afford a vacation.

Si allena regolarmente perché possa competere al massimo livello. 
He trains regularly so that he can compete at the highest level.

Ho preparato una lista dettagliata perché non ci siano errori. 
I prepared a detailed list so that there are no mistakes.

In all the examples above, you could replace perché with affinché and the sentences would be correct and have the same meaning. 

Because In Italian / Why Vs Because In Italian

I have already mentioned that perché in Italian can be used to ask a question and answer it. That means that it acts as both the why and because in English. One word fulfills both functions.

We’ve already looked at various examples, but let’s look at a few more, in case you need to revise.

Question: Perché è venuto qui oggi? – Why did he/she come here today?

Answer: Sono venuto qui per una riunione di lavoro. – I came here for a work meeting. 

Question: Perché hai deciso di viaggiare in Italia? – Why did you decide to travel to Italy?

Answer: Ho deciso di viaggiare in Italia perché volevo scoprire la cultura e la storia del mio paese. – I decided to travel to Italy because I wanted to discover the country’s culture and history.

Question: Perché ha smesso di suonare il pianoforte? – Why did he/she stop playing the piano?

Answer: Ha smesso di suonare il pianoforte perché non aveva abbastanza tempo libero. – He/she stopped playing the piano because he/she didn’t have enough free time.

All The Ways To Say Why In Italian + Pronunciation

Although perché has many functions in Italian and can be used to ask, answer, act as a noun, etc, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to say why in the Italian language.

There are over 20 ways and words that can replace perché, depending on the function it’s filling.

Let’s see them all together first. 

  1. per quale ragione
  2. per quale motivo
  3. per quale scopo
  4. come mai
  5. per cui
  6. per il quale
  7. per la quale
  8. poiché
  9. allo scopo che
  10. per la ragione che
  11. per il fatto che
  12. affinché
  13. giacché
  14. cosicché
  15. talché
  16. motivo
  17. movente
  18. motivazione
  19. causa
  20. scopo
  21. ragione
  22. interrogativo
  23. domanda
  24. incertezza
  25. dubbio

Click the audio below to practice your pronunciation with me.

All the ways to say why in Italian with pronunciation.

Now let’s analyze each, and look at an example.

ways to say why in italian

Per quale ragione

Per quale ragione means “for what reason” and is composed of the adverbial phrase “per quale” combined with the noun “ragione.”

Non capisco per quale ragione non sia venuto.
I don’t understand for what reason he didn’t come.

Per quale motivo

Per quale motivo translates to “for what motive” and is constructed with the adverbial phrase “per quale” followed by the noun “motivo.”

Mi chiedo per quale motivo abbia cambiato idea.
I wonder for what reason he changed his mind.

Per quale scopo/Con quale scopo

Per quale scopo means “for what purpose” and is formed with the adverbial phrase “per quale” and the noun “scopo.”

Non riesco a capire con quale scopo abbia fatto tutto questo.
I can’t understand for what purpose he did all this.

Come mai

Come mai translates to “why” or “how come” and functions as an adverbial interrogative phrase.

Come mai non hai finito il tuo compito?
Why haven’t you finished your homework?

Per cui

Per cui means “for which” or “therefore” and is used to imply “for which.”

Non aveva il biglietto, per cui non poteva entrare.
He didn’t have the ticket, so he couldn’t enter.

Per il quale

Per il quale translates to “for which” and functions similarly to “per cui,” implying “for which.”

È una questione per la quale non ho ancora trovato risposta.
It’s a matter for which I haven’t found an answer yet.

Per la quale

Per la quale means “for which” and similarly implies “for which.”

È una situazione per la quale non ho soluzione.
It’s a situation for which I have no solution.


Poiché means “since,” “as,” or “because” and functions as a conjunction.

Non è venuto poiché non si sentiva bene.
He didn’t come because he wasn’t feeling well.

Allo scopo che (less used)

Allo scopo che means “with the purpose that” and is composed of the preposition “allo,” the noun “scopo,” and the relative pronoun “che.”

Abbiamo agito allo scopo che fosse tutto risolto.
We acted with the purpose that everything would be resolved.

Per la ragione che

Per la ragione che translates to “for the reason that” and is formed with the preposition “per,” the article “la,” the noun “ragione,” and the relative pronoun “che.”

Non è venuto per la ragione che non gli piaceva l’ambiente.
He didn’t come for the reason that he didn’t like the environment.

Per il fatto che

Per il fatto che means “due to the fact that” and is composed of the preposition “per,” the article “il,” the noun “fatto,” and the relative pronoun “che.”

Abbiamo deciso di partire subito per il fatto che pioveva.
We decided to leave immediately due to the fact that it was raining.


Affinché means “so that” or “in order that” and functions as a conjunction.

Lavora sodo affinché possa avere successo.
Work hard so that you can succeed.


Giacché translates to “since,” “as,” or “seeing that” and serves as a conjunction.

Giacché sei già qui, potresti aiutarmi?
Since  you’re already here, could you help me?


Cosicché means “so that” or “in such a way that” and acts as a conjunction.

Ha spostato il tavolo cosicché potessimo avere più spazio.
He moved the table so that we could have more space.


Talché means “so that” or “to the extent that” and functions as a conjunction.

Si è allenato duramente talché ha vinto la gara.
He trained hard, so much so that he won the race.


Motivo translates to “reason” and acts as a noun.

Il motivo del suo comportamento è ancora sconosciuto.
The reason for his behavior is still unknown.


Movente means “motive” and functions as a noun.

Non si conosce il movente del crimine.
The motive of the crime is unknown.


Motivazione translates to “reason” and serves as a noun.

La motivazione dietro la sua azione è chiara.
The motivation behind his action is clear.


Causa means “cause” and functions as a noun.

La causa dell’incidente è stata la scarsa visibilità.
The cause of the accident was poor visibility.


Scopo translates to “purpose” or “aim” and acts as a noun.

Il suo scopo era vincere la competizione.
His purpose was to win the competition.


Ragione means “reason” and functions as a noun.

Non abbiamo capito la sua ragione per partire così presto.
We didn’t understand his reason for leaving so early.


Interrogativo means “interrogative” and functions as a noun.

L’interrogativo chiave era: Dove sei stato?
The key question was: Where have you been?


Incertezza means “uncertainty” and functions as a noun.

C’era un’incertezza riguardo alla sua decisione.
There was uncertainty about his decision.


Dubbio means “doubt” and acts as a noun.

Aveva dei dubbi sul successo del progetto.
He had doubts about the success of the project.

Perché Expressions & Proverbs

Let’s end this lesson about why in Italian with proverbs and expressions featuring perché.

1. Il perché e il percome
Meaning: The reason and the way

2. Il denaro è di cattiva natura perché acceca ogni creatura.
Meaning: Money is of bad nature because it blinds every creature.

3. Il libro del perché stampato ancor non è.
Meaning: The book of why has not yet been printed.

4. Il libro del perché è molto grande.
Meaning: The book of why is very large.

5. Il miele si fa leccare, perché è dolce.
Meaning: Honey is made to be licked because it is sweet.

6. La pulce salta, perché l’è vergognosa.
Meaning: The flea jumps because it is shy.

7. La vita è bella perché è varia.
Meaning: Life is beautiful because it is varied.

8. Perché vada il carro, bisogna unger le ruote.
Meaning: To make the cart go, the wheels must be greased.

The Other Question Words In Italian 

Now that you know how to say and use why in Italian, it’s time to learn the other question words. When you are ready, choose one and click to read the lesson.

What – Read the Che Cosa Lesson

Who – coming soon

Where – Read the Dove Lesson

When – coming soon

Alessia Spampinato