We all know how to say ‘but’ in Spanish, don’t we? We learn the word ‘pero’ really early in our studies of Spanish.
Later however, we find that there are other ways of saying ‘but’.
So how do we use them?
& SIN EMBARGO
These two are more or less interchangeable. Sin embargo is often translated as ‘however’.
We use both to link two independent, but not contradictory clauses or phrases. The first can be either positive or negative, & the second will give additional, perhaps different, but not contradictory information.
I know that
Juan works here, but / however I never see him.
Sé que Juan trabaja aquí, pero / sin embargo nunca lo veo.
I haven’t brought the photos with me, but / however you can see them when you come to my house later.
No he traído las fotos conmigo, pero / sin embargo puedes verlas cuando vengas a mi casa esta tarde.
We use this when the first phrase is negative, & the second contradicts or disagrees with the first. It’s ‘but rather’, or ‘but also’.
We didn’t go to the cinema, but (rather) to a bar.
No fuimos al cine, sino a un bar.
They didn’t only rob my house, but also my neighbours’.
No solo robaron mi casa, sino la de mis vecinos también.
This is used in the same way as SINO, but when followed by a conjugated verb.
We didn’t go to the cinema, but (rather) we had a drink together in a bar.
No fuimos al cine, sino que tomamos una copa juntos en un bar.