Spanish languageAnd + Or - Spanish Conjunctions

The words and and or are conjunctions, and they have a few different forms in Spanish.

And is normally translated as y:

José y Ana hablan francés. José and Ana speak French.
Me gustan las fresas y las frambuesas. I like strawberries and raspberries.
Necesitamos sal y hielo. We need salt and ice.

When "and" precedes a word that begins with the sound "i," the Spanish translation is e instead of y, in order to avoid having two "i" sounds in a row. This includes words that begin with i and hi, but not words that begin with hie.

Hay templos e iglesias en este calle. There are temples and churches on this street.
Todos mis hijos e hijas han ido a la universidad. All of my sons and daughters have gone to college.

 
Or is normally translated as o:

¿Quieres café o té? Do you want coffee or tea?
Paco o David puede ayudarte. Paco or David can help you.

When "or" precedes a word that begins with the sound "o," the Spanish translation is u instead of o, in order to avoid having two "o" sounds in a row. This includes words that begin with o and ho.

Hay siete u ocho estudiantes en la oficina. There are seven or eight students in the office.
¿Es vertical u horizontal? Is it vertical or horizontal?

When o is used with numerals, it becomes ó, to avoid confusion with the number 0.

2 ó 3 2 or 3
9 ó 10 9 or 10

 
Note for French speakers: I find it interesting that the alternate forms e and u sound like the French conjunctions et and ou.


Coordinating Conjunctions

More Grammar Lessons     Spanish for Beginners

  



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