Coordinating Conjunctions in Spanish

Though they are often short little words, coordinating conjunctions are some of the most important words in the Spanish language. A coordinating conjunction connects words or groups of words within a sentence. Typically, they connect similar parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, people, or adjective clauses.

  • Necesito un lápiz o un bolígrafo. [I need a pencil or a pen.]
  • Mis padres y mis abuelos viven en México. [My parents and my grandparents live in Mexico.]
  • Quiero venir a la fiesta, pero no tengo un regalo. [I want to come to the party, but I don’t have a gift.]
  • Haz tu tarea, entonces sal con amigos. [Do your homework, then go out with friends.]

Notice that each sentence above, the coordinating conjunction connects two similar words or clauses:
  • un lápiz and un bolígrafo are both ítems.
  • Mis padres and mis abuelos are both groups of people.
  • Quiero venir a la fiesta and no tengo un regalo are both complete sentences.
  • Haz tu tarea and sal con amigos are both commands.

These are the most common Spanish Coordinating Conjunctions:

y [e] [and]
o [u] [and]
o...o... [either... or...]
no... ni... ni... [neither... nor...]
pero [but]
sino [but rather]
sea...sea... [either... or...]
entonces [then]
así... como... [both... and...]

Sometimes, you may use more than one of these in one sentence.
  • Luisa y Julio hablan ingles o español, pero nunca hablen francés. [Luisa and Julio speak English or Spanish, but they never speak French.]
  • Podemos comer frutas o verduras, pero no podemos comer ni helado ni pizza. [We can eat fruit or vegetables, but we can’t eat either ice cream nor pizza.]

If y comes before a word beginning with an i or hi, it changes to e so as to not repeat the same sound.
  • La maestra hable francés, español, e ingles. [The teacher speaks French, Spanish, and English.]
  • ¿Quieres limón e hielo en tu agua? [DO you want lemon and ice in your water?]

Similarly, if o comes before a word beginning with an o or ho, it changes to u.
  • ¿Cuál es su apellido? ¿Rodríguez u Ortega? [What is their last name? Rodriguez or Ortega?]
  • Ella no me habla – no dice buenos días u hola. [She doesn’t talk to me – she doesn’t say good morning or hello.]

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