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Vietnamese conjunctions

Xin chào các bạn! Hello everyone!

This document on Vietnamese conjunctions was requested by @gibbothebee. As there are too many conjunctions, here I only discuss the common ones.

Although in Vietnamese, there is not a category named “conjunction”, but “relation word”, which includes both conjunction and preposition, instead, we can just talk about words that are conjunction in English.

Let’s start with the most used conjunction: “and” and “but” – “và” and “nhưng”, respectively.
E.g. Tôi thích đọc sách và xem phim. – I like reading book and watching film.
Phương pháp này đơn giản nhưng hiệu quả. – This method is simple but efficient.
Note: Unlike English “but”, which can be used for noun, “nhưng” can only be used for adjective, verb, and clause.

In Vietnamese, there are two different word for “or”: “hay” and “hoặc”. “Hay” is used for or-question, while hoặc is used for statement. Note that “either... or...” in Vietnamese is a single “hoặc” at the “or” place. E.g. Bạn nên chọn màu đỏ hoặc màu vàng. – You should choose (either) red or yellow.
Bạn đang chơi hay đang làm việc? – Are you playing or working?
Sometimes, you can use “hoặc... hoặc...” to emphasize, usually to offer two choices:
Hoặc bạn đúng hoặc tôi đúng. - Either you (are right) or I am right.

Speaking of “Either… or…”, I’d like to speak of “Neither… nor…”. In Vietnamese, it is “Không… cũng không...” (Not... also not...). It is a paired conjunction, so I will write about it in the next one.

There are also paired conjunctions, which I will talk about in the next one.

Let me know if you don't know the meaning of the example sentences, or if there are any typos. Tell me in comments if you'd like me to write references on anything. If there are no positive responses, I will no longer write any documents in the future.

Previous: Vietnamese question structure

April 29, 2017



Thank you for this post. The Vietnamese course tips are quite good, but I think there is much that they don't cover; posts like these are always welcome.
The difference between hay and hoặc sounds rather like the difference in usage between 還是 and 或者 in Chinese.


Thankyou very much


Is there anyway such posts could be "sticky-ed?"


I am struggling with 'basic' Vietnamese and have problems like when and how to use có . Your input is very useful and much appreciated. Thank you.


I think I've heard people using"hay" both for questions and statements. Is it possible that they do that in the south?

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