Connectives

What are connectives in Spanish grammar?

Connectives (los conectores discursivos u oracionales) are linking words such as however, therefore, on the other hand, etc. They connect clauses in a text by creating a logical link between them. In general, connectives organise, connect or reformulate the information in a sentence.

Connectives fall into several different categories; they range from adverbs to prepositions to conjunctions and beyond. Some of the most common Spanish connectives are: sin embargo, en efecto, efectivamente, con todo, por eso, en primer lugar, en segundo lugar, ahora bien, en ese caso, a pesar de ello, por el contrario, etc.

Learn about connectives in Spanish grammar with Lingolia’s exhaustive list of Spanish connectives, then test your knowledge in the exercises.

Example

Querida prima Alba:

Antes de nada, me gustaría felicitarte por tu cumpleaños, pues la semana pasada estuve ocupadísima y no pude llamarte. Sin duda, lo celebrasteis por todo lo alto.

En cualquier caso, tengo muchas ganas de ir a visitarte a Dinamarca. Hace tiempo que no nos vemos. Sin embargo, creo que hasta el verano no tendré tiempo.

Por cierto, ¿te acuerdas que había hecho una entrevista para un trabajo en Bilbao? ¡Lo he conseguido! Me mudaré a principios del mes que viene.

En fin, cuídate mucho y hasta pronto.

Un abrazo.

How to spot Spanish Connectives

Connectives are discourse markers; they act as a guide for the reader or listener and make it easy to follow the thread of a text.

Connectives:

  • refer back to information mentioned previously in the text.
    Example:
    El verano pasado estuvimos en Chile de vacaciones. Además, visitamos Perú y Ecuador.Last summer we were on holiday in Chile. We also visited Peru and Ecuador.
  • are usually made up of more than one word: ahora bien, no obstante, etc.
    Example:
    El año pasado tuvimos un verano estupendo. Este año, por el contrario, llueve sin parar.Last year we had a great summer. This year, on the other hand, it’s rained non-stop.
  • can appear in different positions in a sentence.
    Examples:
    Es una ciudad pequeña; pese a ello, no le falta movimiento.It’s a small city; in spite of that, there’s no lack of movement.
    if the connective comes between two related clauses, it’s separated from the first by a full stop (.) or a semi colon (;), and from the second by a comma (,).
    Es una ciudad pequeña; no le falta, pese a ello, movimiento.
    if the connective divides the clause in two it is placed between commas.
    Es una ciudad pequeña; no le falta movimiento, pese a ello.
    If the connective comes at the very end of the clause, it is preceded by a comma.
  • can be combined with a conjunction that has the same meaning.
    Example:
    He dormido poco y, en consecuencia, estoy muy cansada.I didn’t sleep much, and, as a result, I’m very tired.

Types of connectives in Spanish grammar

We can organise the connectives according to their function in the text. Check out our complete list of Spanish connectives for a thorough overview of the different connectives organised by type and accompanied by examples. Below, you can read more about the different types of connectives along with some of the most common examples.

Adding Connectives

Adding connectives (los conectores aditivos) have a cumulative meaning; they add extra information or expand on an idea.

The most common adding connectives in Spanish are: además, también, encima, es más, de hecho. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Hoy he perdido el autobús de camino al trabajo. Encima, me he mojado con la lluvia.Today I missed the bus to work. On top of that, I got wet in the rain.

Contrasting Connectives

Contrasting connectives (los conectores adversativos) express an opposition or a contrast between two ideas or concepts.

The most common contrasting connectives in Spanish are: en cambio, al contrario, ahora bien, sin embargo, no obstante, aunque. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Pablo quiere ir al cine; en cambio, Rafa prefiere ir al teatro.Pablo wants to go to the cinema; however, Rafa would prefer to go to the theatre.

Connectives that Express a Result

Connectives that express a result (los conectores consecutivos) present the second clause as the result of the first.

The most common connectives that express a result are: por (lo) tanto, así pues, entonces, en consecuencia, por consiguiente. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Me he torcido un tobillo; por lo tanto, no puedo ir a bailar.I sprained my ankle so I can’t go dancing.

Explanatory Connectives

Explanatory connectives (los conectores explicativos) illustrate or clarify the information in the previous clause.

The most common explanatory connectives in Spanish are: o sea, es decir, esto es, en otras palabras. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
El vídeo está grabado en 4D; es decir, tiene mucha calidad.The video was recorded in 4D; in other words, it’s very high quality.

Connectives that Express a Concession

Connectives that express a concession (los conectores concesivos) express the idea of despite.

The most common connectives that express a concession in Spanish are: aun así, con todo, de cualquier manera, en cualquier caso. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
El domingo llovió todo el día e hizo mucho frío. Con todo, salimos a dar nuestro habitual paseo por el parque.On Sunday it rained all day and was very cold. Even with all that, we still did our usual stroll through the park.

Reformulating Connectives

Reformulating connectives (los conectores reformuladores) can bring new arguments, correct, modify or summarise everything said up to that point.

The most common reformulating connectives in Spanish are: dicho de otro modo, en otras palabras, mejor dicho, hablando en plata. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Este año no me va bien económicamente; hablando en plata, estoy sin blanca.This year hasn’t been good for me economically; to put it simply, I’m broke.

Example Connectives

Example connectives (los conectores ejemplificativos) introduce an example that illustrates the information mentioned in the previous clause.

The most common example connectives in Spanish are: así, por ejemplo verbigracia. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Jaime siempre pone excusas para no hacer los deberes. Por ejemplo, hoy dice que tiene sueño.Jaime always makes excuses for not doing his homework. For example, today he says that he’s tired.

Correcting Connectives

Correcting connectives (los conectores rectificativos) correct or modify the information in the preceding clause.

The most common correcting connectives in Spanish are: más bien, mejor dicho. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
No he dormido nada esta noche. Mejor dicho, llevo sin dormir desde el martes.I didn’t sleep at all last night. In other words, I haven’t slept since Tuesday.

Summarising Connectives

Summarising connectives (los conectores recapitulativos) are used to close a text as they introduce a conclusion.

The most common summarising connectives in Spanish are: al fin y al cabo, en resumen, en pocas palabras, en definitiva, total. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Total, todo el mundo quedó satisfecho con el seminario.Overall, everyone was happy with the seminar.

Sequencing Connectives

Sequencing connectives (los conectores de ordenación) allow us to organise information in a sequential manner.

The most common sequencing connectives in Spanish are: antes de nada, en primer lugar, previamente, en ese momento, a continuación, finalmente. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
En este momento, me di cuenta de que no llevaba la cartera.In this moment, I realised that I hadn’t brought my wallet.

Supporting Connectives

The supporting connectives (los conectores de apoyo argumentativo) strengthen an argument or reinforce a point.

The most common supporting connectives in Spanish are: pues bien, dicho esto, en vista de ello. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Ya sabemos lo irascible que se pone Felipe cuando no queda café. Pues bien, hoy ha ido a quejarse al jefe.We already know how irritable Felipe gets when there’s no coffee, well today he went to the boss to complain.

Digressing Connectives

Digressing connectives (los conectores de digresión) introduce comments that are unrelated to the main topic (digressions).

The most common digressing connectives in Spanish are: por cierto, a propósito, a todo esto, dicho sea de paso. See more in our list of Spanish connectives.

Example:
Te felicito por tu ascenso. Por cierto, ha llamado tu hermana.Congratulations on your promotion. By the way, your sister called.