Today we speak about the Spanish conjunction Y. More specifically, we will see together when to use E instead of Y. Learn this simple rule with El Rincón del Tándem Spanish school and improve your understanding of Spanish grammar.

There are some cases in which the Spanish conjunction Y becomes E. So, let’s learn this simple rule!

To begin with, Y (and in English) is a cumulative conjunction. We remind you that conjunctions are grammatical elements that connect words, phrases and sentences.

Cumulative conjunctions belongs to the category of coordinating conjunctions and are called “cumulative” because they introduce additional information.


Mary es canadiense y Lucas es español = Mary is Canadian and Lucas is Spanish

Voy a comprar pan y leche = I am going to buy bread and milk

The conjunction Y becomes E when it precedes a word that begins with an I sound. That is, when the conjunction is placed before words that (in written form) begins with I or HI.


Ana ha estado en Portugal e Italia = Ana has been to Portugal and Italy

La actividad está dirigida a padres e hijos = The activity is addressed to parents and children

Sonia e Iván han ido al teatro = Sonia and Ivan have gone to theatre


This rule also applies when the conjunction precedes a foreign word that begins with I sound, even though the I sound is written otherwise.


Dígame, por favor, su nombre e e-mail = Please, tell me your name and email address

Exceptions to the rule:

In some cases this rule does not apply. That is, we must use the conjunction Y in all the following cases:

1. When the word that follows the conjunction begins with a diphthong, composed by

HI/I + vowel (i.e. hierro, hielo, hierba, hiena, hiedra, etc.)


La estatua está hecha de madera y hierro = The statue is made of wood and iron

El cóctel está hecho con ron, zumo de piña, leche y hielo = Cocktail is made of rum, pineapple juice and ice

2. When the conjunction Y introduces interrogative sentences, thus working as an adverb. In this case, we use Y even if the words that follows begin with I or HI. The conjunction usually replaces adverbs like dónde, qué tal, cómo.


¿Y Inma? (i.e. ¿Qué tal Inma?, ¿Dónde está Inma?)

We hope this post helped you to fully understand when we must use the conjunction E instead of Y.

As usual, we invite you to improve your knowledge of Spanish, digging deeper into grammar and practicing the language in daily life.

Lastly, El Rincón del Tándem provides you with many Spanish lessons options. Get in contact with us to find out the course that suits you best.

See you soon!