Spanish connectors or connecting words are words that link up different ideas within a text. We can use them to give flow to our descriptions and narratives, and avoid sentences that are unrelated or plain. Let’s look at the different types of connective words.

Words and sentences can be connected in literally hundreds of ways. You use conjunctions almost every time you talk or write, even if you don’t realize it. A higher proficiency level in a language means longer, more complex sentences. You’re better at speaking a language if your sentences are longer.

The first time you learn a language, you’ll write and talk in very short sentences with lots of repetitions. A native speaker might find this kind of sentence unnatural, but everyone starts somewhere.

Connecting your thoughts and information into more complex sentences will help you step up your language game. To do that, you’ll need the mighty Spanish conjunction!

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Here is an example of what you might hear:

He has a book in his hands. In addition, he possesses a pen. There are no crayons in his possession. His drawing cannot be colored.

Do you consider this person to be a proficient English speaker? It is unlikely that you would do so.

Take a look at the following example:

A boy has a book and a pen, but no crayons, so he cannot color his drawing.

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Isn’t it amazing what three little words can accomplish? It flows nicely, the meaning is clear, and you probably think this person is at least an upper-intermediate level.

In the last example, the three words marked in bold are conjunctions, and this will be our topic today.

A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words and sentences.

There are two main types of conjunctions in Spanish: coordinating (coordinadas or coordinantes) and subordinating (subordinadas or subordinantes). It is important to note that each of these types includes a different category, so that there are a total of 11 types of conjunctions.

I do not expect you to be familiar with every type, their uses, and all the conjunctions they contain. Instead, I have simplified the classifications in order to make things easier for you.

Below you’ll find a list of conjunctions categorized by their main uses. In each of the uses, there is a list of conjunctions with their meanings and sample sentences.

After reading this article, you’ll feel confident enough to start producing (or continue to produce) more and more complex Spanish sentences.

There are two main groups of Spanish conjunctions, each of which contains subgroups. Let’s take a closer look at each:

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Spanish Coordinating Conjunctions Or Connectors

Conjunctions that connect two or more sentences, clauses, or words are called coordinating conjunctions.

Spanish Connectors
Spanish Connectors

The words must belong to the same word category if they are joined by a coordinating conjunction.

It’s just as weird in English, so you shouldn’t have any trouble remembering it!

Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Express An Addition

Adding options together is the first subgroup of coordinating conjunctions. You can use two or more words, two or more clauses, or even a whole sentence.

This group has three conjunctions:

Y (And)

I find that one of the easiest conjunctions to master, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) allows you to combine two or more words, clauses, or sentences at the same time.

Me gustan el amarillo \(\color{red}{y}\) el azul.

Translation In English: I like the yellow and blue ones.

Antonio hizo la compra \(\color{red}{y}\) preparó el almuerzo.

Translation In English: Antonio went grocery shopping and prepared lunch.

E (And)

Y’s alter ego is E. Both words mean the same thing and serve the same purpose. You have to use \(\mathbf{\color{red}{e}}\) instead of \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) if the word following the conjunction starts with an i (ee) sound.

Juan \(\mathbf{\color{red}{e}}\) Isa se acaban de casar.

Translation In English: Juan and Isa have just gotten married.

Me levanté \(\mathbf{\color{red}{e}}\) hice la cama.

Translation In English: I got up and made the bed.

Luis es alto, guapo \(\mathbf{\color{red}{e}}\) inteligente.

Translation In English: Luis is tall, handsome, and intelligent.

In this case, if the word follows the conjunction is a diphthong (ia/hia, ie/hie, io/hio), we use \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) as usual.

Hay agua \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) hielo en la mesa.

Translation In English: There’s water and ice on the table.

Tengo una espada de acero \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) hierro.

Translation In English: I have a steel and iron sword.

Pela las patatas \(\mathbf{\color{red}{y}}\) hiérvelas.

Translation In English: Peel the potatoes and boil them.

Ni-Ni (Neither-Nor)

Students often ask me how this conjunction can be in this group if we use it to exclude, not include. You put two things together in the “no” box when you exclude or discard them.

As a result, this conjunction is inclusive in a sense. It’s negative, but it’s inclusive.

You can use it to say you don’t like, accept, know, etc. any of the options given, or when neither option is good or suitable.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ni}}\) mamá \(\mathbf{\color{red}{ni}}\) papá fueron al concerto.

Translation In English: Neither Mum nor Dad went to the concert.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ni}}\) España \(\mathbf{\color{red}{ni}}\) Portugal tienen más de 100 millones de habitantes.

Translation In English: Neither Spain nor Portugal has more than 100 million inhabitants.

No me gusta \(\mathbf{\color{red}{ni}}\) la carne \(\mathbf{\color{red}{ni}}\) el pescado.

Translation In English: I like neither meat nor fish.

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Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Offer Alternatives

Combinations of this type allow you to choose from a variety of options or alternatives. As you cannot have more than one of the options, these conjunctions are exclusive.

O (Or)

Another obvious and easy-to-use conjunction. When you have to choose between two or more options, use \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\).

¿Quieres café \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) té?

Translation In English: Do you want coffee or tea?

Quizás es profesor, juez \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) médico.

Translation In English: He may be a professor, a judge or a doctor.

U (Or)

Like the conjunction \(\mathbf{\color{red}{e}}\), the conjunction \(\mathbf{\color{red}{u}}\) is the alter ego of the conjunction \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\). It should be used if the word following the conjunction begins with the sound \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) (oh).

Tendrá siete \(\mathbf{\color{red}{u}}\) ocho años.

Translation In English: He must be seven or eight years old.

Elige uno \(\mathbf{\color{red}{u}}\) otro.

Translation In English: Choose one or the other.

O-O (Either-Or)

Like the last two, this conjunction makes you choose between different options.

By choosing \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o-o}}\) conjunction, you are explicitly stating that there are only two options.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{O}}\) compras una casa paqueña \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) ahorras un poco más para poder comprar una más grande.

Translation In English: Either you buy a small house or you save up a little more so you can buy a bigger one.

Puedes elegir \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) el blanco \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) el negro.

Translation In English: You can choose either the white one or the black one.

You can add more options by adding \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) (but keep in mind that you can only choose one at the end).

There isn’t much use for this since you can simply place \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) in between the last two options, but here is an example:

Podemos viajar \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) a Perú, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) a Argentina, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) a México \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) a Nicaragua.

Translation In English: We can travel to Peru, Argentina, México, or Nicaragua.

Podemos viajar a Perú, Argentina, México \(\mathbf{\color{red}{o}}\) Nicaragua.

Translation In English: We can travel to Peru, Argentina, México or Nicaragua.

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Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Give An Explanation

It’s easy to use the third group of conjunctions. It lets you explain or add information to what you just said. In this group, there are two conjunctions:

Esto Es (That Is To Say, In Other Words, i.e.)

Use \(\mathbf{\color{red}{esto\ es}}\) to clarify or explain what you have just said. It is a formal conjunction that should always be written between commas.

He comprado la mitad, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{esto\ es}}\), cinco piezas.

Translation In English: I’ve bought half of it, i.e., five pieces.

El hombre giró en dirección sur, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{esto\ es}}\), giró a la derecha.

Translation In English: The man turned South, in other words, he turned right.

Es Decir (That Is To Say, In Other Words, i.e.)

This conjunction means the exact same as \(\mathbf{\color{red}{esto\ es}}\), but it is much more common because it fits every possible context or situation.

It should be written between commas once again.

Hay 250 personas más que en 2007, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{es\ decir}}\), ha habido un aumento del 23% en 11 años.

Translation In English: There are 250 more people than in 2007, i.e., there’s been an increment of 23% in 11 years.

He dejado mi trabajo, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{es\ decir}}\), estoy en paro.

Translation In English: I’ve quit my job, in other words, I’m unemployed.

Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Express Contrast

There are a lot of conjunctions in this group, so I picked some that we normally use. These conjunctions express contrast or opposition between what’s been said and what’s coming.

I’m not going to repeat the same information for each since they’re all used for the same thing. Here’s a translation and some sample sentences instead. I’ve added notes where needed.

Aunque (Though, Even Though, But)

Ya he almorzado, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{aunque}}\) solo son las 11 de la mañana.

Translation In English: I’ve already eaten lunch even though it’s only 11 a.m.

Voy a comprarlo \(\mathbf{\color{red}{aunque}}\) no me gusta.

Translation In English: I’m going to buy it even though I don’t like it.

Pero (But, Yet)

Es bajo \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pero}}\) es un buen jugador de baloncesto.

Translation In English: He’s short, but he’s a good basketball player.

El coche es pequeño \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pero}}\) bonito.

Translation In English: The car is small yet beautiful.

Mas (But, Yet)

It’s the formal counterpart to \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pero}}\). Note the lack of accent marks in comparison with \(\mathbf{\color{red}{más}}\) (more)!

Tengo dinero, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{mas}}\) no soy rico.

Translation In English: I have money, but I’m not rich.

Le envió una carta, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{mas}}\) él nunca contestó.

Translation In English: She sent him a letter, but he never answered back.

Sino (But)

Usually used when the previous part is negative (no sino).

No es febrero \(\mathbf{\color{red}{sino}}\) marzo.

Translation In English: It’s not February but March.

No hemos comprado una casa \(\mathbf{\color{red}{sino}}\) un piso.

Translation In English: We haven’t bought a house but an apartment.

No Obstante (However, Nevertheless)

After a period and before a comma, this conjunction is rather formal.

Me gusta viajar. \(\mathbf{\color{red}{No\ obstante}}\), nunca he estado en España.

Translation In English: I like traveling. However, I’ve never been to Spain.

Me mintió. \(\mathbf{\color{red}{No\ obstante}}\), lo perdoné.

Translation In English: He lied to me. However, I forgave him.

Excepto (Except, Save, Excluding)

You can use this to add an exception to what has already been said. A common equivalent is \(\mathbf{\color{red}{menos}}\) (except, excluding).

Todos, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{excepto/menos}}\) Pedro, fueron a la fiesta.

Translation In English: Everyone except Pedro went to the party.

Voy al gimnasio todos los días \(\mathbf{\color{red}{excepto/menos}}\) los jueves.

Translation In English: I go to the gym every day except Thursday.

Sin Embargo (However, Nevertheless, Though)

This option is less formal than \(\mathbf{\color{red}{no\ obstante}}\). You can place it between a semicolon and a comma or between a period and a comma.

Soy estudiante. \(\mathbf{\color{red}{Sin\ embargo}}\), ya tengo trabajo.

Translation In English: I’m a student. However, I already have a job.

Está lloviendo; \(\mathbf{\color{red}{sin\ embargo}}\), voy a ir a correr.

Translation In English: It’s raining. However, I’m going to go for a run.

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Spanish Subordinating Conjunctions Or Connectors

Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate (dependent) clauses.

The subordinate conjunction can also be divided into several groups, but they all serve two main purposes: to provide a transition between the main clause and the subordinate clause and to minimize the importance of the subordinate clause so that the other person understands that the most important information is contained in the main clause.

The following are the four main subgroups of subordinating conjunctions:

Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Express Purpose

You use these conjunctions to say you’ve done something so that something else can happen.

This group has four main conjunctions. All of them mean the same thing and are used for the same thing:

Para Que (So That, So, In Order To/For)

This is the most common, least formal conjunction.

He apagado las luces \(\mathbf{\color{red}{para\ que}}\) puedas dormir.

Translation In English: I’ve switched the lights off so that you can sleep.

Te lo doy \(\mathbf{\color{red}{para\ que}}\) seas feliz.

Translation In English: I’m giving it to you so that you are happy.

A Fin De Que (So That, So, In Order To/For)

It’s a little more formal than para que.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{A\ fin\ de\ que}}\) los españoles dejen de fumar, vamos a crear una nueva ley.

Translation In English: In order for Spanish people to stop smoking, we’re going to create a new law.

Quiero decirte la verdad \(\mathbf{\color{red}{a\ fin\ de\ que}}\) puedas perdonarme algún día.

Translation In English: I want to tell you the truth so that you can forgive me one day.

Con El Fin/Objeto De Que (So That, So, In Order To)

Both of these are formal, with \(\mathbf{\color{red}{con\ el\ objeto\ de\ que}}\) being the more formal of the two.

He solicitado un préstamo \(\mathbf{\color{red}{con\ el\ fin\ de\ que}}\) compres una casa.

Translation In English: I’ve applied for a loan so that you can buy a house.

Hemos creado un nuevo sistema \(\mathbf{\color{red}{con\ el\ objeto\ de\ que}}\) nuestros trabajadores puedan tener más tiempo libre.

Translation In English: We’ve created a new system so that our workers can have more free time.

Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Allow Us To Give Reasons

A group of conjunctions introduces a clause explaining why something happened, could have happened, or will happen. The group is very crowded, but its main members are:

Porque (Because)

The conjunction you probably know very well, since it’s mainly used to answer \(\mathbf{\color{red}{por\ qué}}\) (why) questions.

No voy a la fiesta \(\mathbf{\color{red}{porque}}\) estoy enfermo.

Translation In English: I’m not going to the party because I’m ill.

¿Por qué? \(\mathbf{\color{red}{Porque}}\) yo lo digo.

Translation In English: Why? Because I say so.

Ya Que / Puesto Que / En Vista De Que (Since, Because)

All of these terms have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. Although they are rather formal, they add an air of sophistication to your writing or speech.

No he comprado el teléfono, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{ya\ que}}\) no tengo dinero. (I haven’t bought the phone because I don’t have any money.)

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Puesto\ que}}\) está lloviendo, no iremos al cine.

Translation In English: Since it’s raining, we won’t go to the cinema.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{En\ vista\ de\ que}}\) no has aprobado tus exámenes, no puedes ir de vacaciones.

Translation In English: Since you haven’t passed your exams, you can’t go on vacation.

Pues (Because, Since, For)

This conjunction can be used instead of \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pero}}\) but it’s more formal.

Hemos decidido vender la casa, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pues}}\) queremos mudarnos a Polonia.

Translation In English: We’ve decided to sell the house because we want to move to Poland.

El suelo estaba mojado, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{pues}}\) Juan había estado regando las plantas.

Translation In English: The floor was wet, since Juan had been watering the plants.

Como (Since)

Do not confuse this conjunction with \(\mathbf{\color{red}{como}}\) (like, as, as well as). Although they look the same, they serve different purposes.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Como}}\) (like, as, as well as) is normally used in the middle of sentences.

Nadie dibuja \(\mathbf{\color{red}{como}}\) yo.

Translation In English: Nobody draws like I do.

However, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{como}}\) (since) will always be the first word in a sentence:

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Como}}\) estaba nevando, decidimos quedarnos en casa.

Translation In English: Since it was snowing, we decided to stay home.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Como}}\) no me desperté, me perdí el desayuno. (Since I didn’t wake up, I missed breakfast.)

Que (Because, Or Else)

In informal situations, use that. In addition, it usually implies a warning or hidden advice. That’s what lots of moms uses ques to their kids!

Deja de correr \(\mathbf{\color{red}{que}}\) te vas a care.

Translation In English: Stop running, or else you’ll fall.

Ven, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{que}}\) necesito ayuda.

Translation In English: Come, because I need help.

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Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Express A Condition

As you can see, this group of conjunctions is quite self-explanatory. If you wish to describe a condition, you should use these conjunctions. To put it another way, one clause is dependent on the other in order to be fulfilled.

Among the most important members of this group are:

Si (If)

Most often, this word is used to introduce a condition.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Si}}\) vas a la tienda, compra tomates.

Translation In English: If you go to the grocery store, buy tomatoes.

No te compraré un ordenador \(\mathbf{\color{red}{si}}\) no apruebas todos tus exámenes.

Translation In English: I won’t buy you a computer if you don’t pass all your exams.

Como (If)

Here’s yet another \(\mathbf{\color{red}{como}}\) conjunction with yet another different meaning! When you want to warn or threaten someone, use as (if).

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Como}}\) no vengas, no compraré helado.

Translation In English: If you don’t come, I won’t buy ice cream.

No irás a la fiesta \(\mathbf{\color{red}{como}}\) no te portes bien.

Translation In English: You won’t go to the party if you don’t behave.

Siempre Que (Provided, If)

Puedes jugar \(\mathbf{\color{red}{siempre\ que}}\) termines tus deberes.

Translation In English: You can play provided you finish your homework.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Siempre\ que}}\) digas la verdad, te perdonaré.

Translation In English: If you tell the truth, I’ll forgive you.

Con Tal De Que / A Condición De Que (On Condition That)

Lo acepto \(\mathbf{\color{red}{con\ tal\ de\ que}}\) me paguen más.

Translation In English: I’ll accept that on condition that they pay me more.

Te lo presto \(\mathbf{\color{red}{a\ condición\ de\ que}}\) me lo devuelvas antes del lunes.

Translation In English: I’ll lend it to you on condition that you give it back to me before Monday.

En Caso De Que (If)

Think of \(\mathbf{\color{red}{en\ caso\ de\ que}}\) as a formal sister of si (if). It’s normally used at the beginning of sentences.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{En\ caso\ de\ que}}\) decidas venir, compra vino.

Translation In English: If you decide to come, buy some wine.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{En\ caso\ de\ que}}\) llegues tarde, no podrás entrar.

Translation In English: If you arrive late, you won’t be able to come in.

Spanish Conjunctions Or Connectors That Express A Result

When you want to point out a result or consequence of a previous act or statement, you use this last group of conjunctions. These are the main conjunctions in this group:

Así Que (So)

A comma or a period usually follows this conjunction.

Llegué tarde, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{así\ que}}\) no pude entrar.

Translation In English: I arrived late, so I wasn’t able to go in.

Estoy muy cansado, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{así\ que}}\) me voy a dormir.

Translation In English: I’m very tired, so I’m going to sleep.

Luego (So)

This conjunction means the same as \(\mathbf{\color{red}{así\ que}}\) and it’s used in the same way, but is less common:

No tengo dinero, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{luego}}\) no puedo comprar una casa.

Translation In English: I don’t have any money, so I can’t buy a house.

Yo también estaba aquí, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{luego}}\) no tienes que repetir la historian.

Translation In English: I was also here, so you don’t have to repeat the story.

De Modo Que (So, So That)

Termina rápido, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{de\ modo\ que}}\) podamos irnos ya.

Translation In English: Finish quickly so we can go already.

No estaba cansado, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{de\ modo\ que}}\) me fui a correr.

Translation In English: I wasn’t tired, so I went for a run.

Por Lo Tanto / Por Consiguiente (Therefore, Consequently)

As you can infer from the translations of these two conjunctions, they’re rather formal, especially \(\mathbf{\color{red}{por\ consiguiente}}\), which is the queen of being formal. They’re always followed by a comma.

Solo hablo español, \(\mathbf{\color{red}{por\ lo\ tanto}}\), no hablo japonés.

Translation In English: I only speak Spanish. Therefore, I don’t speak Japanese.

Hay mucha pobreza en España. \(\mathbf{\color{red}{Por\ consiguiente}}\), se deben hacer cambios.

Translation In English: There’s a lot of poverty in Spain, therefore, changes need to be made.

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FAQs

What are the connectors words?

Connectors are used to link two separate sentences. Conjunctions fall into four categories: coordinating, correlative, subordinating, and conjunctive adverbs (discussed elsewhere). It is not uncommon for a single sentence to contain multiple types of conjunctions.

What is the difference between por and para?

Por is for the duration, para is for deadlines, For example, Estudié por (durante) dos horas. I studied for (during) 2 hours. We always use para to refer to a date in the future –typically, when there is a deadline looming.

What are Spanish conjunctions?

Conjunction, or conjunción (pronounced: Kohn-hoon-SYOHN) in Spanish, is a word that connects other words or phrases. They are used to add information, to express a contrast, or introduce an explanation, among other functions.

What are common connectors?

The most common connectors, and the ones used most frequently in speech, are and, but, or, because, so and then, and with them, you can express most ideas quite well.