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How To Make a Sentence Negative Using the Spanish Word Sino

Let’s explore how to use the Spanish word sino to make a sentence negative. Ready?

The first thing you need to take into account is that in Spanish, we have the forms sino (but), si no (negative conditional, meaning “if not,” “otherwise”), and sino (noun meaning fate, destiny). Today, we’ll look at how the first one works.

The second thing you need to know is that sino is an adversative conjunction, i.e., a relation of units that expresses the opposition of their meanings. Let’s consider some examples to understand this concept:

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Each sentence above starts by denying something that is then corrected in the second part of the sentence. Sino helps us to bind both parts of the sentence for it to make sense. In the first example, we’re saying that instead of a pig, what we’re seeing is a plant.

A person holds a smartphone with a picture of a sunset showing on its screen
A photo so good it looks like the real thing, but it’s not.
Image by Public Co from Pixabay 

No always comes before sino

As you will have noticed, we need to use the word no before we can use sino. For example, we would never say Es un cerdo, sino una planta. For that sentence to make sense, we need to add no at the beginning. Here are a couple more examples:


Pero or sino

The last thing to take into consideration is that “but” can also be translated as pero. However, the words sino and pero are not interchangeable. To avoid confusion, think of sino as “but rather” or “but instead” to help you remember when to use it. Let’s check out the following sentences:

Here, we can clearly see the difference between using pero and sino in a sentence.  

Easy, isn’t it? You’re now ready to start using sino in your negative sentences. You can also check out our article on how to make a Spanish sentence negative using tampoco.


Written by Humberto Aparicio

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