"It is not America but Canada."
Translation:Это не Америка, а Канада.
This bothers me every time as well. All logic tells me it should be но, but it's supposed to be а. It doesn't help that I'm Croatian, either (which actually helps most of the time!), because here we would use "nego" which is a form of но, but a simple "no" would also work.
Apparently «не X а Y» is a set expression that simply is the way it is, if I understood correctly. You just have to remember it and get used to it :/
Okay, I'm not russian myself but in my language we also use "a" and "но" as but.
You use "но" as but when you make a statement about something, and add on another clause clarifying something that is despite what you are saying.
For example: I love flowers, but not roses.
In russian: Я люблю цветы, но не розы.
Мeanwhile, you use "a" аs but when you're correcting something that has been misunderstood by someone/thing who isn't the speaker
Eg. "I love flowers, but not roses, Micheal!"
In russian: Я люблю цветы, а не розы, Майкл!
So more loosely explained, what I'm trying to say here is that "но" is used in statements, and "a" is used in responses.
Thats how I understand it, but if I'm wrong, let me know :) Hope it helps.
Excuse me, but in this case, I think, russian "Я люблю цветы, но не розы." should be translated as "I love flowers, except roses." because "flowers" includes "roses"
"I love flowers, but not roses, Micheal!" makes sense as "Я люблю цветы, НО не розы, Майкл!" with the same reason.
More demonstrative example of a usage in this case:
"I love dogs, not cats, Michael! (You misheard me!)"
"Я люблю собак, (а) не кошек, Майкл! (Ты неправильно услышал меня!)"
P.S. I apologize for not being word-perfect in English
Why is the correct translation, "...а Канада" rather than "...или Канада"? Could someone please explain the difference between "a" and "или" when used like this? Thank you!
"А" translates as "but/and" (the exact translation depends on context), while "или" is "or."