Pero, Sino, Sino que

Pero and sino are often confusing for people who are just learning Spanish. They are generally translated as the same word in English, but, but their meanings differ slightly.

pero → but
sino → but rather, on the contrary
sino que →  but rather, followed by a conjugated verb

Use pero when you want to mean however or but. Sino is used following a negative statement to introduce an alternative or contrary idea. If the 2 contrasting ideas are conjugated verbs, use sino que instead of just sino.

No vi la película, pero oí que fue interesante. → I didn’t see the movie, but I heard it was interesting.
El hombre rico tiene todo, pero no está feliz. →  The rich man has everything, but is not happy.
No voy a caminar a la playa, sino andar en bicicleta. →  I will not walk to the beach, but (rather) I will ride my bike.
No hablo español, sino inglés. → I don’t speak Spanish, but (rather) English.
No me dio la torta, sino que la comió. → He did not give me the sandwich, but (rather) he ate it.

Practice 1



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