Conjunctions are words that are used to link two terms in a clause or two clauses. Here are two examples:
Juan y María son primos. (Juan and Maria are cousins.)
Lo encontramos por la calle y lo invitamos a cenar. (We run into him on the street and we invited him to dinner.)
In the first example, the conjunction y links two terms: Juan and María, nouns, which make up the subject of the sentence. In the second example, the conjunction y links two clauses that form a compound sentence: Lo encontramos en la calle and lo invitamos a cenar.
There are two kinds of conjunctions in Spanish: las coordinadas/coordinantes and las subordinadas/subordinantes. Today we’re going to take a look at the coordinating ones. Coordinating conjunctions are used when the clauses of the sentence are independent and have independent meanings. Here are the conjunciones coordinadas in Spanish:
1. y – e – ni
Hay que comprar pan y leche. (We have to buy bread and milk.)
hombres y mujeres (men and women)
When y comes before a word that starts with i or hi (followed by a consonant), it has to be replaced by e, due to phonetic reasons (eufonía).
Cómpranos naranjas e higos. (Buy us some oranges and figs.)
fabricantes e importadores (manufacturers and importers)
Note: We use y before the diphthong hie.
Añade leche y hierve. (Add milk and boil it.)
flores y hierbas (flowers and herbs)
Ni café, ni leche. Acepto un té. (Neither coffee, nor milk. I’ll have some tea.)
No me gustan ni este ni aquel. (I like neither this one nor the other one.)
2. o – u
¿Hierro o acero? (Iron or steel?)
¿Agua o vino? (Water or wine?)
When the conjunction o precedes words that start with o or ho, it has to be replaced by u.
plata u oro (silver or gold)
minutos u horas (minutes or hours)
When the conjunction o comes between numbers, we need to replace it with ó so as not to confuse it with the number zero.
8 ó 9 (read like = ocho o nueve)
9 ó 8 (read like = nueve u ocho)
12 ó 15 (read like = doce o quince)
20 ó 30 (read like = veinte o treinta)
8 ó 80 (read like = ocho u ochenta)
Stay tuned for the second part of the coordinating conjunctions soon! Nos vemos prontito.