Do you already know the difference between pero and sino? If not, we suggest you to read this post. Our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem is going to explain it clearly today 😉

Pero and sino are two conjunctions that are frequently incorrectly used by foreign people who are learning Spanish. Although they may be similar and often translated in English with the same words, there are some slight difference in their meaning and function into the sentence.

Let’s learn more!

Firstly, we remind you that conjunctions are words or group of words that connect clauses, phrases, or words in the same clause together.

Pero and sino are both coordinating adversative conjunctions, also known as contrasting conjunctions. Specifically, their function is to express a comparison or contrast between the two connected parts of the sentence. Besides, the opposition can be slightly different as each conjunction conveys a specific nuance.

– PERO. Meaning and use

It  introduces a concept that contrasts with or restricts (but not negates) the previous one.
We usually translate it as “but”


Lucía no estudia mucho pero tiene buenas notas
Lucia does not study much but she receives good marks

La amiga de María es muy inteligente pero un poco arrogante
Maria’s friend is very clever but a bit arrogant

We can use pero to add an idea that contrast with a negative one, previously mentioned.


Claire no habla chino, pero lo comprende
Claire does not speak Chinese, but she understands well

No he pedido pan pero me lo han traído
I did not order bread, but they brought it

-SINO. Meaning and use

We generally use SINO in negative sentences to correct. This conjunction introduces a phrase, clause or a word that negates an element of the preceding idea to replace it.
In English it would be translated as “but rather, but on the contrary, but instead”


Fred no habla español sino ruso
Fred does not speak Spanish but rather Russian

En el pastel de carne no le puse colorante sino azafrán
I did not put coloring product in the pie, but insteadsaffron

No le pongo azúcar al café sino miel
I don’t use to put sugar in my coffee, but ratherhoney

Look out!

When sino precedes a conjugated verb, we use “sino que”.


Esta noche no voy a la fiesta, sino que me voy a quedar en casa descansando
Tonight I am not going to the part, but instead I am going to stay home to rest.

Finally, we can also find sino in the structure “no solo…sino también” (i.e. not only…but also).
In case the conjuction introduce a conjugated verb, we will say more properly “no solo…sino que también”.


No solo los alumnos sino también sus padres pueden acudir a la fiesta del colegio
No only students but also their parents can attend the school party

No solo irán de vacaciones sino que también se cogerán un año sabático
Not only they will go on holiday, but they will also took a sabbatical year

We really hope this post has contributed to your Spanish learning process.

As usual, our Spanish school el Rincón del Tándem invites you to explore more about Spanish grammar and language, getting a look at our previous post and follow the next ones.

And, of course, we will be happy to have you at our school, providing you with cheap Spanish courses in Valencia!

Have a nice day and till the next blog 😉