I am new to Spanish and was wondering when I need to use 'pero' in a sentence vs 'sino'.
I have seen both these words used in sentences and I am confused on when to use which.
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The confusion for English speakers can arise because "pero" and "sino" both translate to "but".
Él tiene una camisa, pero no es roja.
He has a shirt, but it's not red.
No he venido a ser servido, sino a servir.
I haven't come to be served, but to serve.
"Sino" follows a negative assertion, to provide instead the "right" (positive) alternative. ("Not that, but this" . "No aquello, sino esto"). "Pero" just joins two sentences that are sowewhat opposite.
"Sino" can often be translated as instead or rather (where these words function as "but").
"Sino" is a more connected conjuntion: the words that follow complete the sentence, it's syntactically related and it's contruction depends on the opening. By contrast, "Pero" opens a new independent clause. See the above examples. Quick rule: only before a "pero" we can replace the comma by a semicolon or a period ("Él tiene una camisa. Pero no es roja.").
Sino is a conjunction, and is used exactly the same as pero, except that it is used in cases of negation. It can be thought to roughly translate to the English terms however or rather, but is more specific than the English terms.
To use sino, there must be a negative word (such as no) preceding the conjunction
I don't want to go to the movies, rather/however/but I want to go home.
No quiero ir al cine, sino quiero ir a mi casa.
The dog is not brown, but/however/rather black.
El perro no es marrón, sino negro.
The word "pero" is used to expand or oppose a concept.
Puedes dormir tarde "pero" el otro dia tendrás sueño.
El puede venir "pero" debe traer algo.
In case of word "sino", is used to oppose a concept to another previous negative.
No es que no quiera que venga "sino" que venga otro día.
No lo hizo ella "sino" que lo hizo el.
Well, I hope this help you.
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."