Conjunctions link and create relationships between clauses. Some conjunctions show opposition between clauses. In this lesson we will focus on the commonly used conjunctions pero and sino.
The conjunction pero is the usual conjunction that means “but”. Sino means “but” in the sense of “but rather” and is used when preceded by a negated item which is replaced by what follows sino (i.e., “not this but rather the other”).
Yo iba a invitar a María a ir a la fiesta pero ella no puede ir.
I was going to invite Maria to the party but she can't go.
Yo quise ir a la tienda pero Consuelo quiso ir al cine.
I wanted to go to the store but Consuelo wanted to go to the movies.
No soy española sino argentina.
I'm not Spanish but (rather) Argentinian.
Mi familia no es rica sino pobre.
My family is not rich but (rather) poor.
Sino que is used in the same way as sino, but is followed by a clause (including a conjugated verb) that replaces the preceding negated item.
María no habla sino que grita.
Maria doesn't speak, but (instead) yells.
Ella no camina por las montañas sino que camina mucho por la ciudad.
She doesn't walk in the mountains but (instead) she walks a lot around town.