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The words "and" and "or" are coordinating conjunctions. In Spanish, these two words have a few different forms depending on what they’re used with.
And = y, e
"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 = o, ó, u
"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?|
|2 ó 3||2 or 3|
|9 ó 10||9 or 10|
It’s interesting that the alternate Spanish forms e and u sound like the French conjunctions et and ou.
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