Conjunction

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A conjunction (conjunción in Spanish) is a word that joins two words, clauses, or sentences. Some common conjunctions are and, or, and but (Spanish y, o, and pero).

Types of conjunctions

There are different types of conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions link two words, phrases or sentences of the same type. For example, they can link two nouns, two predicates, or two sentences. When joining two elements with a coordinating conjunction, the resultant element is a compound element, ie: compound sentence. In English there are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. The acronym FANBOYS is often taught as a memory aid to recall these seven conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions
FANBOYS
forandnorbutoryetso

Correlative conjunctions

These conjunctions join two sentence elements of the same kind and are always used in pairs.

Correlative conjunctions
either ... or ...neither ... nor ...both ... and ...not only ... but also ... whether ... or ...

Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are used to create subordinate adverbial clauses. In English the subordinating conjunctions, which are also adverbs, are as follows.

Related to timeCause and effectOppositionalConditional
afterasalthougheven if
beforebecauseeven thoughif
sincein order thatthoughif only
untilnow thatwhereasin case
whensincewhileonly if
whileso unless
   whether or not

Conjunctions in Spanish

Conjunctions in Spanish perform the same types of functions as conjunctions in English. However, there are some differences in meaning or usage.

Pero, sino, mas

All of the words pero, sino and mas can be translated as but. Mas (no accent) is mostly extinct, except very flowery language or by people who are influenced by French (mais) or Portuguese (mas)

Pero and sino have distinct usages, and they are not interchangeable.

Sino is used mostly in statements that correct or contradict something, of the form "Not A, but B". It is very commonly used in the expressions solo...sino(que)... or no solo...sino (que)... = not only...but also.... Sino que is required before a verb phrase. For example:

  • No quiere café, sino té = (s)he doesn't want coffee, but tea.
  • no él, sino ella = "not him, but her
  • no este, sino ese = not this one, but that one
  • no solo tienen casa en la ciudad, sino también en en campo = Not only do they have a home in the city, but also in the country.

Pero is not possible in any of the preceding examples. However, it translates but in all other cases.

O

O and u mean or, either singly or in pairs or a series. If the word that follows starts with the sound /o/, then one says or writes u, otherwise one says or writes o. For example, hombres o mujeres, but mujeres u hombres.

If o stands between a pair of numbers written using digit characters, it is common to use a tilde/accent mark in order to distinguish it from the digit character 0; for example, 1 ó 2.

Y

Y and e mean and. If the word that follows starts with the sound of the vowel /i/, one says and writes e, but before the semi-consonant /y/ and all other sounds one says and writes y. For example, padre e hijos but carbón y hierro. Also, when it is used to mean what about one always says and writes y: ¿Y Ignacio? = What about Ignacio?

Que

Que is used in at least for distinct ways in Spanish:

  • It is the most commonly used relative pronoun with the meaning that.
  • When it means "what" it should be written qué, and it should be thought of as an instance of an interrogative pronoun
  • It can mean than in comparisons
  • It can function as a subordinating conjunction
Usage: {{stub}}

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Causal conjunctions

The most common ones are:

  • porque = because
  • como = since, as
  • pues = for (when meaning because)
  • ya que = since
  • puesto que = since
  • en vista de que = in view of the fact that

Concession

  • aunque / bien que / y eso que / así / aun cuando / si bien = although / even though / even in the event that
  • a pesar de que / pese a que / por más que / a despecho de que = despite the fact that
  • por mucho que = however much that

Condition

All of these can be translated as provided that or as long as. They all require the subjunctive for the main verb of the clause.

  • con tal (de) que
  • a condición de que
  • bajo (la) condición de que
  • siempre que
  • siempre y cuando
  • mientras (no)
  • como

Exception

All of these can be translated as unless. All of them may require the subjunctive, but not always.

  • a menos que
  • excepto que / salvo que
  • a no ser que
  • como no
  • fuera de que
  • si no

Purpose and aim

  • meaning in order that / so that
    • para que
    • de manera que*
    • de modo que*
    • a que
    • de forma que*
    • a fin de que
    • con el objeto de que
  • meaning lest / in order that not
    • no sea que
    • no fuera que / no fuese que

All of these conjunctions of purpose require using the subjunctive. The ones marked with asterisks may also indicate result, in which case they require using the indicative.

Result

Subordinating conjunctions that express manner may indicate either a purpose or a result. When they indicate a purpose or aim, they require using the subjunctive.

These conjunctions indicate results; they require using the indicative.

  • conque
  • así que

These conjunctions can indicate either purposes or results. When they indicate purpose or aim, they require using the subjunctive; when they indicate results, the require using the indicative

  • de manera que
  • de modo que
  • de forma que

Conjunctions of time

Common subordinating conjunctions of time include:

  • a la vez que = at the same time as
  • a partir del momento en que = from the moment that
  • a poco de que = shortly after
  • al mismo tiempo (que) = at the same time (as)
  • al poco rato de que = shortly after
  • antes de que = before
  • apenas = scarcely, hardly, barely
  • así que = as soon as
  • cada vez que = every time that
  • cuando = when
  • después de que = after
  • en cuanto = as soon as
  • en tanto que = as long as
  • hasta que = until
  • mientras = while, as long as
  • nada más que = as soon as
  • no bien (que) = scarcely, hardly, barely
  • siempre que = whenever, as long as
  • tan pronto como = as soon as
  • una vez que once, as soon as

All of these require using the subjunctive under certain circumstances. Antes de que always requires the subjunctive.

Discourse markers

These conjunctions connect what has been said before to what is about to be said. The following is a partial list of the more common ones; some of them are mentioned elsewhere, too.

  • antes que = rather than
  • a pesar de, pese a = in spite of
  • aunque, y eso que, si bien = although, even though
  • con tal de que, bajo la condición de que and so on = provided that
  • a menos que = unless
  • conque = so
  • o / u = or
  • pero, sino, mas = but
  • porque, pues, como = because
  • que, de que = that
  • y / e = and
  • ya que, puesto que = since

Afterthoughts

These are expressions with meanings such as by the way, incidentally:

  • a propósito (can also mean on purpose)
  • por cierto

Addition

These expressions add something to the discussion:

  • además, es más = moreover
  • encima = moreover, on top of that
  • por lo demás = apart from that

Qualification or reservation

These expressions indicate that what was said previously is incomplete:

  • sin embargo, no obstante, empero = nevertheless, still, however, in spite of that. (Only sin embargo is common in speech)
  • Colloquial expressions include bueno, pero, bueno, and mira que.

Dismissing or downgrading

These expressions can be translated as anyway, and typically give a connotation of "it doesn't matter".

  • de todas formas/maneras
  • sea como sea
  • sea como fuere (literary)

Resumption

These expression can indicate either continuing on or drawing a conclusion from what has been said. They can all be translated as so meaning continuing from what I just said, as a result, or in other words.

  • de modo/forma/manera que
  • así que
  • conque (colloquial)
  • o sea que

Emphasis and insistence

Common expressions include:

  • en realidad, realmente = really, actually
  • de hecho = in fact, the fact is
  • ahora bien = now
  • es que, (el hecho) es que = in fact, the fact is (colloquial)

Summing up

  • en resumen, en suma = in short, to sum up (literary)
  • total (colloquial)
  • en fin = well, okay, right

Contradiction

  • por el contrario, al contrario = on the contrary
  • qué va = strong disagreement (colloquial)
  • de ninguna manera = strong disagreement
  • oye (familiar), oiga (to a stranger) = reject an implication. Also used to call someone's attention.

Contrast

Some common expressions include:

  • por otra parte = on the other hand
  • en cambio, por el contrario, al contrario = on the other hand, on the contrary

Consequence and result

These show that what follows is the result of what was said earlier.

  • por (lo) tanto, por consiguiente, en/como consecuencia = as a result (typical of formal styles)
  • de modo que, de forma que, así que, con que and so on = hence, as a result.
  • por eso = that's why
  • entonces = so, therefore (in addition to meaning then, just after)
  • pues = so, then (colloquial)

Agreement

These show agreement or saying that something is self-evident.

  • claro = of course
  • desde luego = of course
  • en efecto, efectivamente = in effect, of course, that's true
  • ya = yes, right, okay, I see
  • de verdad, a decir verdad = to tell the truth, I'm telling you