Take the 2-minute tour ×
Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I think I've heard three ways of translating "the reason [something happened]" or "the reason [for something]":

  1. la razón para
  2. la razón de
  3. la razón por la que

What is the difference between these three constructions, and when would you use each?

share|improve this question
    
Razón has a lot of different meanings buscon.rae.es/drae/… –  belisarius Mar 15 '13 at 7:38

1 Answer 1

I'd say the differences are very subtle, and in most cases you could use any of the three options without much difference. But anyway:

  • "La razón para" generally would be used as "the reason for", as in "the reason to do something we have done in the past or are planning to do in the future".

    La razón para ilegalizar las drogas es que son malas para la salud.

  • "La razón de" can be used in the same context as case no. 1, but also to explain the reason why some event happened.

    La razón de que el edificio se cayera es que estaba mal construído.

  • "La razón por la que" can be used in the same context as cases 1 and 2, but is generally less used because it is longer. If you are using it like in case 1, the syntax is a bit different. You have to explain who's the one discussing the reason.

    La razón por la que el gobierno quiere ilegalizar las drogas es que son malas para la salud.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks, that helps. So what's the most common translation of a sentence like, "The reason he didn't come was..."? –  jrdioko Mar 15 '13 at 18:37
    
To combine the examples: La razón por la que el capataz busca trabajo es que el edificio se cayera. La razón de que el edificio se cayera es que estaba mal construído. Estaba mal construído el edificio porque los trabajadores usaron drogas. La razón para ilegalizar las drogas es que queremos edificios estables. –  bernie Mar 15 '13 at 21:19
2  
@jrdioko, the ways I'd say that would be (for a more complete phrase like "The reason he didn't come was because he was sick"): La razón por la que no vino fue que estaba enfermo. La razón de que no viniese fue que estaba enfermo. No vino porque estaba enfermo. (Most common and short, but doesn't use the phrase you were looking for :)) –  Rorok_89 Mar 19 '13 at 17:09

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.