Often those two words are used interchangeably but there is is very subtle difference between 'car' and 'parce que' in French which I will try to explain.
When there is a clear cause and effect link between the two clauses you will use 'parce que' -
Le vase s'est cassé parce que tu l'as jeté par terre = The vase broke because you threw it on the floor
Henri a été licencié parce qu'il avait insulté son patron = Henri was sacked because he had insulted his boss
'Car' is more subtle, it introduces a supposition or an explanation rather than a direct cause and effect . It is often translated as 'for' / 'since' or even 'as' -
Elle doit être malade car je ne l'ai pas vu depuis trois jours = She must be ill as I haven't seen her for three days
Nous sommes trompés d'adresse car nous sommes allés à Rouen et non pas à Caen = We went to the wrong address since we went to Rouen and not Caen
On ne se parle pas en ce moment car nous sommes fâchés = We don't speak to each other at the moment as we have fallen out
Hope this helps!
Could you give me the context?
I was referring to the lesson on the different French words for “for”, being pendant, depuis, durant, car and pour. Car seemed only to be used when a substitute was because, or parce que. is that right?
Also, is car ever used for ‘for’ in spoken French?
Car and parce que are both "for" in a causal sense, most often translated as "because".
He didn't come because he is sick. -- Il n'est pas venu car/parce que il est malade.
The difference between them is that you can start a sentence with parce que but not witch car.
Thanks. Very helpful. Is car used frequently in oral communication, or mainly in the written language?
You will hear both spoken but 'parce que' is used more frequently.
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