1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. Difference between y and e


Difference between y and e

Can someone please explain the difference between y and e in Spanish, if there is one at all? I've never understood that. Thank you.

May 29, 2018



"y" and "e" both mean "and."

"e" is used instead of "y" when the same sound follows immediately after. Compare "padre e hijo" (correct) with "padre y hijo" (incorrect). Because "i" in "hijo" makes the same sound as "y," "e" is used instead.


This is loosely analogous to the difference between "a" and "an."


Thanks for your explanation. In your example, "padre y hijo" being incorrect, changing it to a "e" makes the sound blend with padre, so unfortunately it will blend with words regardless, either the previous word or the following word. In your example it doesn't seem to help much.


The language is what it is and the rules is that an "y" before an "i" sound becomes "e," whether that happens to make sense to anyone or not.


Similarly, at some point you will run across the Spanish word "u" instead of "o" for the English word "or". It is for the same reason as cmdaniels explains in his answer.

"u" is used instead of "o" when the same sound follows immediately after. As an example, you say "siete u ocho" instead of "siete o ocho".

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.