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Pero vs sino

Is there any rule about which form of "but" to use and when? I can't figure out any pattern.

July 21, 2013



I will give you some examples

Me gustaria ayudarte pero no puedo-I would like to help you but I can't El vestido no era ❤❤❤❤❤ sino gris-The dress was not black but rather gray.

Queria ir al cine pero no pude-I wanted to go to the movies but I couldn't No es que no me guste la pelicula sino que no la entiendo. It's not that I don't like the film but I don't understand it.

They are not interchangeable. Sino is used almost always to contradict what has already been stated.

I hope this helps.


That is probably worth a Google "pero versus sino SPanish" rather than an awkward/wordy explanation (mine would be that way) here.


Duolingo seems very weak on this sort of thing, it should really either call out the relationship between words like this or better yet let us practice their use directly (e.g. Give us a sentence and let us choose which to use).


Sino is an elegant way to provide a non-obvious alternative to a negative statement, without having to start a new sentence.

To avoid confusing it with pero, try replacing it with although–if it works, it's pero; otherwise, it's sino.

> — Me apetecía verte hoy, pero hasta mañana no puedo.

> "I felt like seeing you today, (but/although) until tomorrow, I can't."

> — Pues yo no contaba con verte hoy, sino mañana, así que perfecto.

> "(Well) I wasn't counting on seeing you today, (but/I was counting on seeing you) tomorrow, so that's perfect."

I go deep into the usage context of sino in this NachoTime post.

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