Some tutorials use "car" to mean "because" in English and others use "parce que".

Please explain the difference and why each is used.


1 Answer 1


The TLFi replies to this question:

Rem. 2. Car/Parce que, Car/Puisque. Contrairement à car, parce que et puisque peuvent être utilisés après certaines conj. de coordination : et, mais, ni parce que ou et, mais, ni puisque; de même ils peuvent être repris par que : parce que... et que ou puisque... et que. D'autre part, parce que peut introduire une prop. en réponse à la question pourquoi ?, s'employer derrière des adv. tels que précisément, justement, uniquement, seulement, surtout..., après le tour uniceptif ne... que et le présentatif c'est, tous emplois impossibles avec car. La conj. car qui introduit une explication peut avoir la même valeur que puisque, qui garantit le bien-fondé véridique de l'énoncé

In summary:

  • Both are often interchangeable.

  • Car cannot be used after et, mais, ni, some adverbs and c'est.

  • Parce que is used to reply to a question starting with pourquoi, car can't be used in that case.

Moreover, car (as a coordinating conjunction) is rarer and slightly formal.

  • I was also taught that car was more formal. In Canada, however, it's much more informal and can easily be heard in everyday speech, a development owed perhaps to its being so short.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Feb 12, 2017 at 4:57
  • @LukeSawczak I just discovered this question is a duplicate. Curiously, someone wrote car is rare in Quebec French.
    – jlliagre
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:11
  • That's interesting. I should have clarified that by far the biggest part of my experience of Canadian French is Ontarian French; maybe this is a more isolated phenomenon than I thought.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Feb 12, 2017 at 13:54

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