Spanish Lessons


Lessons for topic Conjunctions

The Many Uses of the Spanish Word Que (With and Without an Accent)!

You may have learned that the Spanish word que without an accent most commonly means "that," while its accented version qué tends to function like the English word "what" within questions. However, since both versions of que in Spanish can be employed as different parts of speech and within different constructions, with varying English translations, today's lesson will lay out many of these with plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish library. 


Uses of Que in Spanish Without an Accent


1. Que as a Pronoun Meaning "That" or "Who"

In this usage, que is used like "that" or "who" in English to introduce essential characteristics. Let's see some examples:


En esta aula tan solo había un chico que era español;

In this classroom, there was only one boy who was Spanish,

Caption 23, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 1

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Se lo comen todo, hasta un aceite que huele a orégano.

They eat everything, even an oil that smells like oregano.

Caption 43, Amaya Burras a dieta

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2. Que as a Pronoun to Introduce Additional Information 

Sometimes, que functions like the English words "who," "that," or "which" to introduce additional, or nonessential, information, in which case it is typically set off by commas as in the following caption:


Así que Poeska, que es demasiado buena, optaba por irse

So Poeska, who is too nice, would choose to leave

Caption 64, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Bimba

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3. Que as a Conjunction Meaning "Because" or "Since"

This less formal use of the word que could be translated with the English words "because" or "since":


Ay, no te quejés tanto, que mañana me tenés que llevar a hacer unas vuelticas.

Oh, don't complain so much since tomorrow, you have to take me to run some errands.

Caption 4, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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4. Que as a Conjunction Meaning "Than" 

Que is often used as the Spanish equivalent of "than" for making comparisons in Spanish


Eres más compleja que tu madre.

You're more complex than your mother.

Caption 60, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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5. Que to Introduce a Subordinate Clause Expressing a Statement or Hypothesis 

In this case, the word que comes between a verb and a subsequent conjecture or statement. Let's take a look:


Recuerde que todo el país tiene los ojos en usted

Remember that the whole country has its eyes on you,

Caption 62, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 5

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Y bueno, yo creo que Lukas se nos ha quedado dormido.

And well, I think Lukas has fallen asleep on us.

Caption 57, Amaya Mi camper van

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Note that while, in the first example, the word que has been translated as "that," in the second example, it has not been translated at all. This is because, although the word que is necessary in such constructions in Spanish, its English equivalent is often optional (the word "that" could also be left out of the first example). Furthermore, remember that if what follows que is a wish or desire, the next verb must be conjugated in a subjunctive tense, as follows:


No queremos que nuestra ley parezca demasiado blanda.

We don't want our law to look too lenient.

Caption 25, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 14

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6. Que + Subjunctive to Say "Hopefully" or "May"

And speaking of the subjunctive, the word que can be used along with a subjunctive verb to give the idea that one "hopes" or desires something, or in the way that English speakers use "May..." 


Que descanses. -Gracias.

[I hope you] sleep well. -Thanks.

Caption 12, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 3

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¡Que suenen las voces del himno nacional,

May the voices of the national anthem sound,

Caption 39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Uses of Qué in Spanish With an Accent

There are two main uses of the word qué in Spanish with a tilde, or written accent. Let's find out what they are. 


1. For Direct and Indirect Questions

The word qué in Spanish with a written accent is the equivalent of "what" in English and appears in both direct and indirect questions, or statements that include unknown information. Let's see an example of each:


¿Y tú, Cleer, qué idiomas hablas?

And you, Cleer, what languages do you speak?

Caption 18, Cleer y Lida ¿Qué idiomas hablas?

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porque todavía no se sabe de qué rincón o de qué carta se está hablando.

because it's still not known what corner or what letter is being spoken about.

Captions 46-47, Carlos explica Los artículos en español - Part 3

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2. For Exclamations or Interjections

Qué with an accent can also mean "how" or "what" within exclamations or interjections like the following:


¡Ah, qué rico!

Oh, how tasty!

Caption 40, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 2

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¡Pero qué chica más inteligente!

But what a smart girl!

Caption 27, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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That's all for today. Although the many uses of the Spanish word que can feel a bit overwhelming, we hope that this lesson has clarified for you many of the major ones, and don't forget to write us with your questions or comments

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Aunque + Present Indicative vs. Subjunctive

The Spanish conjunction aunque, whose English translations include "although," "even though," "even if," etc., often appears within the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive. Although sentences that include said constructions are often structurally similar, the use of either the indicative or the subjunctive with aunque affects their meaning. Additionally (and as usual in Spanish!), the subjunctive construction is slightly more challenging since the meaning of the same sentence could vary depending upon context. Let's take a closer look.


Aunque + Present Indicative

Aunque + present indicative is used to state facts and is a pretty straight-forward equivalent of similarly truth-stating English sentences with "although" and "even though." Let's see some examples:


aunque terminan en "a", son realmente palabras masculinas.

although they end in "a," they are really masculine words.

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina Errores comunes - Part 6

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Aunque es checa la canción, el tema, eh... en Berlín, en Alemania creen [sic] mucha gente que es alemán.

Although the song, the tune, is Czech, um... in Berlin, in Germany, a lot of people think it's German.

Captions 48-49, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Manuel y El barrilito

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Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tengo la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo. 

Well, one has to be optimistic, although I have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.

Captions 4-5, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

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These first two instances of aunque + present indicative are quite clear-cut because we know that what the speaker is saying is factual: The words Carolina mentions indeed end in "a," and the song Manuel describes is undoubtedly Czech. In the third example, although the speaker could possibly have different impressions regarding her employment chances, her use of the indicative definitively lets us know the impression she has about it. 


Aunque + Present Subjunctive

In contrast to aunque + present indicative, aunque + present subjunctive conveys different meanings and is used in two different scenarios: 1. In hypothetical situations and 2. When the information being communicated is considered "background information" that the audience already knows. 


Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Hypothetical Situations

In order to understand how the use of the subjunctive with aunque changes the meaning of a sentence, let's take the third example of aunque + present indicative and replace it with aunque + present subjunctive:


Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tenga la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo. 

Well, one has to be optimistic, even if I might have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.


The subjunctive version conveys something different than its indicative counterpart because, rather than explicitly stating her impression after a specific job interview, the speaker says more generally that "even though she might have" a particular impression following an interview, she should remain optimistic. Let's take a look at some additional examples of this use of aunque + present subjunctive from the Yabla Spanish library:  


Aunque sea sólo para un fin de semana, para mí, tiene las características esenciales para disfrutar de un viaje,

Even if it's only for a weekend, for me, it has the essential characteristics for enjoying a trip,

Captions 47-49, Lydia de Barcelona Lydia y el festival de cine "Women Mujeres"

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Here, Lydia is saying to an audience of potential tourists to Barcelona that, hypothetically speaking, a visit would be worth it even if they might only have one free weekend. On the other hand, the indicative "Aunque es sólo para un fin de semana" would be used for someone you knew was only visiting Barcelona for one weekend. This is sometimes confusing for English speakers since the phrase "Even if it's only for a weekend" could refer to either situation and is thus a valid translation for both the indicative and subjunctive versions of the sentence. Let's look at one more example:


Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista.

Believe it or not, love at first sight does exist.

Caption 56, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

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While Aunque no crean is the Spanish equivalent of the English idiom "Believe it or not," a more literal translation is "Even though you might not believe it" since we don't know whether or not the audience does. 


Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Background Information

Now, let's examine a use of aunque + present subjunctive that might initially seem confusing:


Os recuerdo que las islas Canarias, aunque estén en el océano Atlántico y muy cerca de la costa africana,

I remind you that the Canary Islands, although they're in the Atlantic Ocean and very close to the African coast,

Captions 4-6, Aprendiendo con Silvia Deportes tradicionales canarios - Part 1

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Since what Silvia is saying is a fact (the Canary Islands are most definitely located in the Atlantic Ocean, close to Africa), why does she use the subjunctive? This is because aunque + present subjunctive is also used when the speaker assumes that their audience already knows the information being stated


To sum it up: Use the indicative when you want to inform someone about something that you assume is new information for them, and use the subjunctive to say things you believe the receiver already knows. Let's see another example of this use: 


Aunque San Sebastián tenga tres playas, yo siempre hago surf en la Zurriola.

Even though San Sebastian has three beaches, I always surf at Zurriola.

Captions 16-17, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 2

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As seen here, even if it's a fact that San Sebastián has three beaches, you'd employ the subjunctive tenga for a person you think knows this information and the indicative tiene for a person you believe to be learning it, despite identical English translations. For a detailed explanation of this use of aunque + present subjunctive with a plethora of examples, check out the video series Clase Aula Azul: Información con subjuntivo e indicativo (Aula Azul Class: Information with Subjunctive and Indicative).

Ambiguity with the Aunque + Subjunctive Construction

Sometimes, the meaning of an aunque + subjunctive sentence is ambiguous and, without context, might be impossible to ascertain. Let's take a look at an example that could be understood in more than one way: 


Aunque haga calor, yo voy a usar mi chaqueta nueva


On its face, this sentence could have two possible meanings:

1. Even though it might be hot (hypothetically on some particular day in the future), I'm going to wear my new jacket.

2. Even though it (really) is hot (and I know you know it's hot), I'm going to wear my new jacket.


In the second scenario, we assume that the person with whom we are speaking already knows the information; perhaps they are sitting there sweating with us, or maybe they called you to complain about the heat: The main point is that we believe that this is shared information. To determine, however, which of the two aforementioned meanings is intended, context is required, and there may be cases where it could seem to go either way. 


In conclusion, aunque sea el concepto un poco difícil (although the concept might be a bit difficult), we hope that this lesson has made clear to you when to use the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive... and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments!


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Si no vs. Sino

Si no or sino? That is the question of today's lesson. Do you know when to write one or the other? Both expressions seem very similar but they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Although even native speakers make mistakes when writing these words, the truth is they are used in specific cases that are easily recognizable. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz: 


Which one would you use in the following sentence?:

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; ____ ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.


What about in this one?:

No solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, ____ varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá.

It doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota.


We will unveil the answers at the end of this lesson. Now, let's dive into the difference between si no and sino.


What is the English equivalent of si no?

Si no is made of two parts. The conditinal conjunction 'si' and the negation 'no'. We use si no to introduce a negative conditional sentence. In particular, we use si no when it works as "otherwise" to imply the idea of "on the contrary". Let's see a couple of examples:


Porque todos son amantes de los animales, si no, no vendrían a vernos.

Because they are all animal lovers, otherwise, they wouldn't come to see us.

Captions 45-46, Santuario para burros - Voluntarios

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¿Grabó esto sin su permiso?

Did you record this without her permission?

Claro que sí. Si no, no la habría descubierto.

Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn't have discovered it.

Captions 52-54, Los casos de Yabla - El perrito malcriado

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What does the word sino mean in English?

In Spanish, the word sino is a conjunction that usually works as the English equivalent "but" or "but rather". Generally speaking, we use it to create a contrast between and affirmative statement that is placed right after a negative one. Let's see a couple of examples:


Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh...

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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Por esta razón, no decimos "uno libro", sino "un libro".

For this reason, we don't say "uno libro," but rather "un libro" ["a book"].

Caption 39, Carlos explica - Los Números: Números Cardinales

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Sometimes, we also use sino when we want to state an exception:

Nadie lo sabe sino tu padre.

Nobody except your father knows it.


And finally, we use sino when we want to add more elements to a single statement, usually with the formula 'no solo... sino también' (not only... but also):


Unas de las bandas más importantes de Latinoamérica,

One the most important bands in Latin America,

este... no sólo por su trabajo musical,

um... not only because of their musical work,

sino también por su trabajo social y activismo ambiental.

but also because of their social work and environmental activism.

Captions 10-12, Doctor Krápula - Entrevista

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Let's solve the questions

Considering all of the above, it is time to solve the questions we posed at the beginning of this lesson. Let's unveil the answers:


Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; si no ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4

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No solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, sino varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá.

It doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota.

Captions 57-58, Bogotá - Chorro de Quevedo

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That's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand when to write sino and si no. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.


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Pero, Sino and Sino Que

Do you know how to say “but” in Spanish? If you are wondering why we need a lesson to answer such a simple question, there’s a reason for that. In fact, we have three options to express the conjunction “but” in Spanish: pero, sino and sino que. Let’s look at each one:



Pero in Spanish

As a conjunction, the Spanish word pero works like the English conjunction “but.” Let’s look at some examples:


Pues, fue muy estresante y agotador pero a la vez divertido porque…

Well, it was really stressful and exhausting but at the same time fun because…

Caption 62, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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Llegó al país de los Muiscas una bella pero mala mujer llamada Huitaca.

A beautiful but evil woman named Huitaca arrived in the country of the Muiscas.

Caption 28, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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We use pero in Spanish to create contrast between two statements. This contrast helps us to expand the information provided by the first statement. While most of the time the first statement is a positive one, there are some cases in which that statement can be negative:


No podemos ver, pero podemos escuchar.

We can’t see, but we can listen. 


In this case, you could also replace pero with sin embargo (however):


No podemos ver. Sin embargo, podemos escuchar.

We can’t see. However, we can listen.


What does sino mean?

We use the conjunction sino to create a contrast between two statements where the first one is ALWAYS a negative one. Let’s take a look:


Lo importante no es ganar, sino competir.

The important thing isn't winning, but competing.

Caption 41, Club 10 - Capítulo 1 

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Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh…

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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You can think of sino as something that we could replace with por el contrario (on the contrary). Also, keep in mind that when you have a verb after sino, you need to use its infinitive form.


Sino que

We use sino que exactly the same way as the conjunction sino. The difference is that we use sino que when both statements contain a conjugated verb. Let’s take a look:  


En general, la... la gente no es sólo respetuosa,

In general, the... the people are not only respectful

sino que es súper amable con nosotros.

but are super kind to us.

Captions 41-42, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de biblioteca

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O sea que no solamente era una cosa, sino que eran varias.

I mean that it was not only one thing, but rather there were many.

Caption 27, María Marí - Su pasión por su arte

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Simple rules for using “but” in Spanish

Considering the fact that you have three options, you might not always know which option to choose in order to say “but” in Spanish. Luckily, there are some simple rules that will help you to figure out whether you need to use pero, sino or sino que. Let’s have a look:


- If the first statement is positive you need to use pero.

- If the first statement is negative, you need to use either sino or sino que.

- If the first statement is negative and you have a conjugated verb in both statements you need to use sino que.

- If you can replace “but” with “however” (sin embargo), you need to use pero.

- If you can replace “but” with “on the contrary,” (por el contrario) you need to use sino.



That's all for now. Now that you know how to say “but” in Spanish, try to write 5 sentences with pero, 5 sentences with sino and 5 sentences with sino que. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to


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Different Ways to Use Como

The Spanish word como (an adverb but also a conjunction) has many different meanings. Let's explore a few examples to learn how to properly use it.
Generally speaking, the adverb como has a comparative meaning. You can use it with the verb ser (to be) to compare things, people, actions, etc. There are different ways in which this como can be used, but it usually translates as "as" or "like."



Nadie como tú me llena

No one fulfills me like you

Caption 18, Michael Stuart - Me Siento Vivo

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Yo tenía cuidado de no pisarlas como tú me enseñaste.

I was careful not to step on them as you taught me.

Caption 33, Guillermina y Candelario - La Isla de las Serpientes

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But the adverb como can also mean “about” and be used to make an estimate, or approximation (which in a way is also a comparison).
For example, to estimate an amount of money:


Que esto ya cuesta como veinticinco soles.

This alone already costs about twenty-five soles.

Caption 41, Cocinas Peruanas - Short Film

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Or to estimate an amount of time:


Estos muslitos se van a tardar como unos quince, veinte minutos.

These little thighs are going to take about fifteen, twenty minutes.

Caption 15, [Bears in the Kitchen] Osos en la cocina - Pollo asiático

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On the other hand, as a conjunction, the word como has even more uses, equally interesting. For now, let's just study the most common ones: como meaning "as" or "since" and como meaning "if."
When the conjunction como is used to establish an antecedent condition it means "as" or "since:"


Como ya les dije,

As I already told you,

Caption 26, Lecciones de guitarra - Con Cristhian

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Y también como sos uruguaya,

And also since you are Uruguayan

Caption 62, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro

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The conjunction como can also be used in a conditional clause that translates as an "if" clause. It's used with the subjunctive, it's not very common, and it's typically used to make threats or prevent people from doing or not doing something:

Como no vengas le digo todo a mamá.
If you don't come I'd tell mom everything.

Como no me hagas caso, lo pasarás mal
if you don't listen to me, there will be trouble



As you can see, this como is more commonly used in the negative form. And, by the way, it's just an alternative to using a si clause (which doesn't need the subjunctive):


Si no vienes le digo todo a mamá.
If you don't come I'll tell mom everything.
Si no me haces caso, lo pasarás mal
if you don't listen to me, there will be trouble


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Ni - Not Even

Michael Stuart sings about a few things he either did not or cannot do. Listen in:


No te había ni conocido

I hadn't even met you

Caption 8, Michael Stuart - Me Siento Vivo

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No me puedo ni imaginar

I can't even imagine

Caption 19, Michael Stuart - Me Siento Vivo

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In both cases, we translated ni as "even," which may confuse some students who think first of ni as "nor," "or" or "neither" first and foremost. (For example: No tengo tiempo ni dinero para viajar, or, No tengo ni tiempo ni dinero para viajar translates as "I don't have the time nor the money to travel").

But the ni we hear in Michael Stuart's song is a ni as in ni siquiera that means "not even."

In the case of Michael Stuart's lyrics, we translate ni as "even" instead of "not even" because English doesn't do no double negative the way Spanish does. (Sorry! A lame attempt to illustrate our grammatical point.) If it did, we'd translate caption 19 from our song as "I can't not even imagine."

When there is only one (single) negative, the substitution of ni for no in a sentence not only changes the meaning from "not" to something more along the lines of "not even," but it tends to make the statement a bit more emphatic as well.


  • Desde que choqué, no manejo.
  • Since I crashed, I do not drive.


  • Desde que choqué, ni manejo.
  • Since I crashed, I don't [even] drive [at all].


To a native speaker, the second statement has an implied meaning along the lines of "It's not like I drive more carefully now, I don't even drive at all!" or "I don't even think about driving!"


  • Todos los días ella pasa frente a mí y ni me saluda.
  • Every day she passes in front of me and does not even say hello.


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U for O, E for Y

Un segmento de una hora u hora y media.

A period of one hour or one hour and a half.

Caption 40, Rafael T. - La Cultura Maya

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Sooner or later we all notice cases where 'u' replaces 'o' ("or") or where 'e' replaces 'y'  ("and"). These conjunctions change when the word following them starts with the same letter sound. Therefore in the example above, 'o' changes to 'u' because the beginning sound of the next word, hora, is [o] (note that the h is silent).


The rule of thumb is pretty simple: With the conjunctions o ("or") and y ("and"), the vowels change if they are followed by the same vowel sounds.

Here are some examples of the vowel change in action:

¿Vas a comprar siete cervezas u ocho?
Are you going to buy seven beers or eight?

¿Quieres cervezas o gaseosas?
Do you want beers or sodas?



Julieta e Ignacio estudian la medicina.
Julieta and Ignacio study medicine.

Yasmil y Javier tocan a la guitarra.
Yasmil and Javier play the guitar.

Try speaking the sentence without changing the vowel and you should hear that it sounds funny to say the same vowel sound twice. That should help you remember this simple rule.

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