Grammar: Conjunctions

Grammar: Conjunctions

Introduction to Conjunctions in Spanish

  • Conjunctions, or “conjunciones” in Spanish, are words used to connect two or more ideas, sentences, or elements. They’re essential for fluent and natural expression.
  • Spanish conjunctions fall into three main categories: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative.

Coordinating Conjunctions

  • Coordinating conjunctions link independent clauses. Examples include “y” (and), “o” (or), “pero” (but), “ni” (nor), “sino” (but rather), and “así que” (so). Remember to adjust “y” to “e” before a word that starts with “i” or “hi”, and “o” to “u” before a word that starts with “o” or “ho”.

Subordinating Conjunctions

  • Subordinating conjunctions are used to introduce a dependent clause. Examples include “porque” (because), “aunque” (although/even though), “cuando” (when), “si” (if), “mientras” (while), “hasta que” (until), and “como” (since/as).

Correlative Conjunctions

  • Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to coordinate related ideas. These include “o…o” (either…or), “ni…ni” (neither…nor), “ya…ya” (either…or), “bien…bien” (either…or), “no solo … sino también” (not only… but also), and “tanto…como” (both…and/as…as).

Common Mistakes and Verbs with Multiple Meanings

  • A common mistake to avoid is the misuse of “pero” and “sino”. Use “pero” to introduce a contrasting statement and “sino” to introduce a contradictory statement.
  • Learn the different meanings of “como”. It can be used to compare actions and characteristics (as/such as), to give reasons or cause (since/because), to introduce conditional clauses (if), among others.

Additional Points on Spanish Conjunctions

  • Spanish demands the use of conjunctions in sentences that, in English, often do not require them. “Que” is often used as a relative pronoun or a conjunction in sentences that English would simply omit.
  • Also note that in some cases, the word order after conjunctions is inverted in Spanish compared to English, particularly with “aunque”, “cuando” and “hasta que”.

Practice and Fluency

  • Regular practice using these conjunctions in both written and spoken forms will help you to understand their functions and improve your overall Spanish fluency. Reading Spanish books, watching Spanish movies or TV shows, and listening to Spanish music can provide a natural context for their use.