No tener por qué

When interrogative words like por qué, cómo and dónde are not used in questions, their translations may surprise you. Mental notes are called for.

No tener por qué

The best translation for no tener por qué may involve the word reason.

  • Tú no tienes por qué tener miedo. There’s no reason for you to be afraid. You have nothing to be afraid of.
  • No tienen por qué enterarse. There’s no reason they should ever learn the truth.
  • No tienes por qué venir a ayudar. You don’t need to come and help. It’s not necessary.
  • No tenías por qué. You shouldn’t have gone to the trouble.
  • No tengo por qué darte explicaciones. I don’t owe you an explanation.

Try to avoid word-for-word translations here from English to Spanish, since the results will sound unnatural. And remember to stress the syllable qué in speech.

No tener cómo

Forma and manera are usual the translations for way, but for cases like I have no way to reach him, you’ll want to use no tener cómo.

  • No tengo cómo llegar. I have no way to get there.
  • ¿Tienes cómo irte?. Do you have a way to get home? You could respond: No, tomo un taxi. I’ll take a cab.

No tener dónde

As you can see from the following examples, dónde often translates not as where but rather as place.

  • No tiene dónde dormir. He has no place to sleep.
  • Ya casi todas las alumnas tiene dónde quedarse. Almost all of the students have a place to stay now. (telenovela dialogue)
  • Mejor ve buscando dónde dormir. Look for a place to sleep.

I’ve even heard Hay mucho dónde caminar. There are a lot of good places for walking.