"I am not eating meat, but cheese."
Translation:אני לא אוכל בשר, אלא גבינה.
You use אלא in a very specific type of sentence, between two contradicting statements, where the first is negated. The best translation to English is "but rather". If you can change the "but" to "but rather", you can use אלא.
Can anybody please explain the situation? Is cheese considered as... meat here?
No it's a contrast = (not this, but that) , I'm not eating meat but cheese. Not this = meat, but that = cheese
(Kind of like):
I don't want Puppy but (rather) a kitten. This isn't a fruit but (rather) a vegetable.
21 Dec 2018
Am I being dumb or is this not necessarily a "rather" situation? Do you want meat - no I'd rather have cheese, I get that, but if you just say in a general way I don't eat meat, but I'm not a vegan, I do eat cheese, is that still "rather"?