A conjunction is a word that creates a relation among words, phrases, clauses or sentences. Conjunctions have no meaning by themselves, they only relate. Some conjunctions have more than one meaning, so it is possible to find them performing different relating functions.
The following are the most widely used conjunctions in Spanish (English equivalents and examples are given below each classification):
These conjunctions coordinate two or more words that have the same function. They can put together sentences too. These conjunctions are:
e (and, used instead of "y" when the word that follows begins with "i")
ni (neither, nor)
- Compré musica rusa y turca. I bought Russian and Turkish music.
- Tenía verguenza e ira. He was ashamed and angry.
- Vió el reloj y recordó su cita. He saw the watch and remembered his appointment.
- No comió ni bebió agua. He did not eat or drink water.
These conjunctions put together words or sentences to express different or conflicting alternatives. These conjunctions are:
u (or, used instead of "o" when the word that follows begins with "o") o (or, either)
- Tú o él cocinarán. Either you or he will cook.
- O nos ayudas o te vas. Either you help us or you leave.
- Uno u otro camino te lleva. Either road will take you there.
These conjunctions indicate opposition among the elements that they join. These conjunctions are:
Pero (but) Mas (however) Sino (but, rather) Sin embargo (nevertheless, however) No obstante (regardless) Antes bien (on the contrary) Con todo (even so) Más bien que (rather than) Fuera de (apart from) Excepto (except) Salvo (except for) Menos (but) Más que (even if, however much) Antes (before) Que no
- Quería un helado, pero no tenía dinero suficiente. I wanted an ice cream, but I did not have enough money.
- Él no podía descansar sino trabajar mas. He could not rest, he would rather work harder.
- Salgo a correr todos los días, excepto cuando llueve. I jog every day, except when it rains
These conjunctions always subordinate one sentence to another. The most common are:
Porque (because) Pues (because) Ya que (since, seeing that) Puesto que (although, since, as long as) Pues que (since) Supuesto que (given that) Que (that, because) De que (of) Como (as, since) Por razón de que (for the reason that) En vista de que (given that) Dado que (given that) Por cuanto (in as much as) A causa de que (because, due to) Por lo cual (therefore)
- Sabían que la amabas ya que la besaste. They knew you loved her since you kissed her.
- Puesto que no veniste, tuve que estudiar solo. Since you did not come, I had to study by myself.
- Como tenía dinero, todos lo seguían. Since he had money, everybody followed him.
They express the condition that must be met to realize what is indicated in the principal sentence. The most common are:
Si (if) Como (as, since) En caso de que (in case that, in the event that) Siempre que (whenever, provided that) Con tal de que (as long as)
- Como no venías, tuvimos que partir. Since you didn’t come, we had to leave.
- En caso de que pierdas las llaves, aquí tienes un repuesto. In case that you lose the keys, here’s a spare.
- Comeremos conejo siempre que lo cazemos. We will eat rabbit provided that we will hunt it.
They introduce a sentence that expresses difficulty in fulfilling what the main sentence requires. This difficulty does not always avoid the main action fulfillment. The most common ones are:
Aunque (although) Por más que (regardless) Si bien (although) Aun cuando (even if) A pesar de que (despite) Así (so, therefore) Como (as, since) Siquiera (though, although, whether, or) Ya que (since, seeing that) Bien que Mal que