As Spanish learners know, the phrase for “and” is y, which is pronounced just like the “ee” within the English phrase “see.” You may see y virtually as quickly as you begin learning Spanish in phrases like café y pan (espresso and bread), tú y yo (you and I), and el búho es grande y me da miedo (the owl is giant and it scares me).
However as you be taught extra Spanish, you may discover one other option to say “and”: e, which is pronounced just like the “ay” in English “say.” ¿¿Y y e?? What is going on on right here?
When do you utilize y in Spanish?
In practically all circumstances, y is the best way you may say “and” in Spanish. Consider it because the default!
When do you utilize e in Spanish?
There may be one exception on the subject of “and”: If the subsequent phrase additionally begins with an “ee” sound, use e as a substitute.
So for instance, if you wish to say that the guide is enjoyable and attention-grabbing, you may use the phrase interesante (attention-grabbing). Since interesante begins with i (which makes that very same “ee” sound), you may use e earlier than it:
- El libro es divertido e interesante. (The guide is humorous and attention-grabbing.)
- El libro es interesante y divertido. (The guide is attention-grabbing and humorous.)
That is the entire rule! Simply the one exception, earlier than phrases that additionally begin with the “ee” sound. That’ll embrace phrases that begin with the letter “i” (like interesante), phrases that begin with “hello” (like hijo, “son”) as a result of the “h” is silent in Spanish, and sometimes some phrases which have “y” as a vowel in the beginning (just like the title Ysabel).
Why does Spanish have two phrases for “and”?
All languages have guidelines about what sounds can go subsequent to one another in phrases and sentences. In English, we have now the rule that we do not put “a” in entrance of phrases that begin with “a.” That is why we are saying “an apple” however “a banana.” There’s not an particularly good cause why, moreover breaking apart comparable sounds… it is simply how the language works!
The identical is true for Spanish y and e: in Spanish, you simply do not say y earlier than phrases that begin with the “ee” sound! As a substitute, use e.
There is a comparable rule concerning the phrases for “or” in Spanish: o is the default phrase, however when it comes earlier than a phrase that begins with the identical sound (like otros “others”), you as a substitute use u as a substitute. So that you say otros edificios o casas (different buildings or homes), however casas u otros edificios (homes or different buildings).
And… that is all there’s to it!
There’s a simple rule for remembering when to make use of y and e (and o and u) in Spanish, however some patterns are trickier to be taught. For extra tips on Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, learn the Duolingo Weblog, or submit your individual query to our language-learning column, Expensive Duolingo!