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  5. "But why?"

"But why?"

Translation:Mais pourquoi ?

January 6, 2013



One of the correct alternatives given here is "Mais pour quelle raison?" but that's not exactly translated as "but why?", right?


Yes it is. "pourquoi" means "for what" (pour - quoi), so the meaning of it is "for which reason"


I reported. Mais pour quelle raison is more elaborate than mais pourquoi.


Is there an instance in French where "pour quoi" (separate) is used without giving the sense "why"? For instance: "I traded the cow." "For what? These beans?" In this sentence, "for what" does not really mean why.


In that case, we would say "contre quoi".

"pourquoi" (for which reason) and "pour quoi" (for which thing) are close anyway, the use of one vs the other will mostly depend on context:

  • Pour qui ou pour quoi fais-tu cela ? (for whom or for what are you doing that?)
  • Tu viens pour quoi faire ? (what are you coming here for?)

Sometimes, when it is not very clear, we ask the question differently and disconnect "pour" from "quoi": "Tu viens pour faire quoi ?"


Ah, right. Merci!


In that case how do you say 'what for?' (Which is similar to but definitely different to 'why?')?

The answer to 'why?' will usually be 'because....' but the answer to 'what for?' is more likely to be 'so that....'

In Spanish they translate as porque and para que. Does French not distinguish?


The issue here is that because "pour quoi" and "pourquoi" sound the same, we tend to use another interrogative phrase when our question expects a "so that" answer, like:

  • Dans quel but ?
  • Dans quelle intention ?
  • Dans quel objectif ?
  • À quelle fin ?
  • Quelle est la finalité de... ?


Thanks again Sitesurf.


Right. So the translation is wrong.


Duolingo has its own rules. For me 'but why' is translated to 'mais pourqoui', whereas 'mais pour quelle raison' is 'but for what reason'.


I have struggled with the Conjunctions lessons, and repeated it numerous times, both the lessons and the Strengthen skills section. This is the first time I have seen 'mais pour quelle raison', and there have been a couple of other sentences that have been new the last couple of times I have done these lessons. Do new phrases get added into the sections as people comment? I realise that there are many nuances and shades of meaning, and perhaps I should have guessed at this one, but it seems harsh to come back to a section and be faced with new words (never seen raison before).


"Mais pour quelle raison" means "but for what reason" and not "but why". If Duolingo is going to split hairs on other sentences, they must be consistent.


Totally agree. I've reported this but I doubt they'll change it!

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