Sino in Spanish

In the section on Talking about Ifs, Ands and Buts, you learned about the word pero, which means but. (This is not to be confused with the word perro, which means dog!)

What you didn’t learn then was that there is another word for but in Spanish that has a slightly different meaning: sino!!.

Sino in Spanish

When to Use PERO

You will ordinarily use pero before a complete clause or statement, be it a negative one or a positive one. You will know that pero is the correct choice if you can substitute the word however and still convey the correct English meaning.

Por ejemplo:

When to Use SINO

When what follows the word but is NOT a complete clause or statement, you may need to use sino instead. If you can substitute but rather or on the contrary and still convey the correct English meaning, then you will know that sino is the correct choice.

Por ejemplo:

If what follows sino is a conjugated verb or a subordinate clause (rather than an infinitive or a noun), you’ll need to use sino que.

Por ejemplo:

Not Only … But Also

Sino has another use. If you want to say that you not only won first place but also the grand prize, you will use the phrase no solo … sino. 

The word también is frequently used with no solo … sino. También means too or also.

Por ejemplo:

Remember that if what follows is a subordinate clause (e.g., a conjugated verb), you need to use sino que.

Por ejemplo:

1. No sólo estoy enamorado de Silvia, sino que quiero casarme con ella.
- I’m not only in love with Silvia, but also I want to marry her.

2. No sólo dices que tengo que cambiar, sino que les dices a todas tus amigas qué vago soy.
- You don’t just tell me that I have to change, but you also tell all your friends how lazy I am.

In the next section we'll talk about the Spanish Future Tense.


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