ma vs bensì
Can anyone tell me what is the difference? I also have seen discuccions about word 'però' which I didn't even get in my lessons. Am I missing something?
in my opinion (native speaker), 'ma' is an adversative conjunction (contrasting) that can be used in a wider range of meaning, from pure opposition (i.e. the latter sentence excludes the former) to concession (i.e. the latter sentence contrasts the former, but doesn't completely exclude it).
On the other hand, 'bensì' can be used only in case of opposition (or at least, concessive use is very uncommon). And 'tuttavia' is used only as a concessive conjunction. So they can be both interchangeable with 'ma'.
Opposition: Oggi non è Lunedì, ma Martedì = Oggi non è Lunedì, bensì Martedì (today it's not Monday, but Tuesday.
Concessive: Oggi è freddo, ma è una bella giornata = Oggi è freddo, tuttavia è una bella giornata (today it's cold, but it's a beautiful day)
you can find 'ma bensì' together: it's used in order to strenghten, despite it's pleonastic.
Thanks a lot Can you give any examples where these words can't be used interchangeably or would sound really strange? Or it really doesn't matter?
my pleasure :)
hmmm good question :-) As usually, it's easier to find a rule or a trend than to single out exceptions to the rule :) At the moment I cannot find any failure, but I was pondering over the fact that in everyday life I hardly say 'tuttavia' or 'bensì' when talking. I usually go for 'ma' and 'però'. I think you're more likely to find them in written texts (so you have to learn it anyway :P ).
I think (I'm still very much a learner myself) that bensì means something more like "but instead"
"Mi piacciono i gatti ma non mi piacciono i cani." - I like cats but I don't like dogs.
"Non mi piacciono i cani bensì i gatti." - I don't like dogs but instead cats.
"Non ho una casa ma ho un castello." - I don't have a house but I have a castle.
"Non hu una casa bensì un castello." - I don't have a house but instead a castle.
I just noticed one thing in your examples and the ones provided by duolingo, that after "bensì" only a noun is used and never a verb. On the other hand examples with "ma" are followed by verb, or something that can act as a separate sentence. It's just my wild quess. And I still don't know anything about "però"
And do I understand your point correctly, that "bensì" is more like 'exclusive or'?
There are various translating sites available. Google is simple to use but has many mistakes. I like using "Reverso" because it gives lots of example sentences, sometimes with mistakes in the English but easy to decipher. Here is a counter example from Reverso to what you said: Non deve limitare, bensì promuovere il movimento. = You should not be restricting movement, but encouraging it.