Pero, sino or sino que? in Spanish

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Pero, sino or sino que?

Pero (but): after an affirmative or negative statement, it lets us add information to qualify what has been said.

Ana es morena, pero se tiñe de rubia.

Ana is a brunette but dyes her hair blonde.

No tengo hambre, pero voy a comer.

I'm not hungry, but I'm going to eat

Nunca voy al teatro, pero iré por ti.

I never go to the theater, but I'll go for you.

Sino

  • After negatives formed with no, it is used to contrast one idea with another like “but (rather)” in English or por el contrario (on the contrary) in Spanish.

El vestido no vale 20 €, sino 200 €.

The dress doesn't cost 20 euros, but rather 200 euros.

  • After no solo (not only), it is used to add information.

No solo es feo, sino aburrido.

It's not only ugly, but boring.

Sino que, like sino on its own, means “but (rather)”, but it is used before verbs.

Al final no iré a Sevilla, sino que seguiré trabajando.

In the end I won't go to Seville; rather, I will keep working.

Ana no solo vino, sino que me ayudó.

Ana not only came, but also helped me.

Notes:

  • In sentences with no solo (not only), we may use también (also) after sino and sino que to add information with greater emphasis.

No solo es médica, sino también profesora.

She is not only a doctor, but also a teacher.

Rodrigo no solo canta, sino que también baila.

Rodrigo not only sings, but also dances.

  • In negatives formed with no solo no, we may use tampoco (either) after sino and sino que to add emphasis to the second negative,

No solo no tiene talento, sino tampoco dinero.

He not only has no talent, he has no money, either.

No solo no vino, sino que tampoco avisó.

He not only did not come, he did not call, either.

  • We shouldn't confuse sino with si no, which is two separate words meaning “if…not” and used to introduce a condition.

Si no me escuchas, me enfadaré.

If you don't listen to me, I'll get angry.


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