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Linking words in Spanish – Part 01 Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Basic, Spanish Grammar

Hello, there!

Linking words are extremely important when you’re reading a text or even listening to someone speak Spanish. They’re usually conjunctions and knowing them will make a major difference in your fluency; you will be able to understand better and speak better Spanish too.

Check out the most common ones:

1. y – e – ni
Hay que comprar pan y leche. [We have to buy bread and milk.]
Cómprame naranjas e higos. [Buy oranges and figs for me.]
fabricantes e importadores [manufacturers and importers]

Note: When y comes before a word that starts with i or hi (followed by a consonant) it has to be changed to e. This doesn’t happen before the hie cluster.

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 éste ni aquél. [I don’t like either this one or that one.]

2. o – u

¿Hierro o acero? [Iron or steel?]
¿Agua o vino? [Water or wine?]

When o comes before words that start with o or ho it must be replaced by u.

plata u oro [silver or gold]
minutos u horas [minutes or hours]

When o comes between numbers, it must be replaced by ó so it is not confused with the number zero. This doesn’t happen when numbers are written out.

8 ó 9 = ocho o nueve
9 ó 8 = nueve u ocho
12 ó 15 = doce o quince
20 ó 30 = veinte o treinta

3. bien … bien – uno … otro – ora … ora – ya … ya

Bien para mí, bien para tu padre, tendrás que contarlo todo. [Either to me or to your father, you will have to tell it all.]
Uno para mí, otro para ti. [One for me, another one for you.]
Ora por una cosa, ora por otra, nunca consigo llamarla. [Now for one thing, now for another, I can never call her.]
Ya por la autopista, ya por el camino de tierra, iremos igual. [Be it on the highway, be it or on the road, we’ll go anyway.]

4. mas – pero

Mas and pero both mean “but”. Mas is more formal.

Me encantaría ir, mas/pero no tengo tiempo. [I’d love to go, but I don’t have time.]

5. sino

No quiero café sino té. [I don’t want coffee, but (I want) tea.]
No puede comer frutas sino pera. [He can’t eat fruits except for pears.]
Nunca fui a Bariloche sino en invierno. [I’ve been to Bariloche only in the winter.]
Esta mujer no hace otra cosa sino reclamar. [This woman doesn’t do anything but complain.]
No sólo aplaudían, sino que también taconeaban para expresar su admiración. [They were not only applauding, (but) they were also stamping their heels to express their admiration.]

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About the Author:Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. brian jones:

    complex but interesting for a near beginner

  2. Mohammed:


    i’m not understand below sentence in Enlish.

    Nunca fui a Bariloche sino en invierno. [I’ve been to Bariloche only in the winter.]

    why can’t this tranlate should be i never went to Bariloche only in winter.

    Pleae explain me. Thanks


  3. Peter:

    Maybe a better translation of ‘I never went to B … except in winter’ Would be

    I only ever went to B in winter.

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