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Spanish: U instead of O - E instead of Y

Question by Guest | 10/03/2019 at 13:00

In Spanish texts I have already seen several times that for the Spanish word "or" a U is used instead of an O as usual. The same applies to E instead of Y for the Spanish word "and".

I did not find anything in my Spanish textbook. Is that a special slang? Maybe a rhetorical device? Or is it used for example in lists with multiple o and y so that the enumeration sounds better in terms of language? Can someone enlighten me?

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This replacement always takes place when the word following the conjunction begins with the same letter sound as the conjunction. The U always replaces the O if the following word also starts with a spoken O. The E is used instead of the Y when the following word begins with a spoken Y.

For example, let's look at the following enumeration:

  • siete u ocho o nueve [seven or eight or nine]

Between "siete" and "ocho" we use "u" for "or", because "ocho" starts with "o". Between "ocho" and "nueve" we use the normal "o", because "nueve" does not start with "o".

It's the same with y and e. For example, in the following sentence:

  • leche e yogur y queso [milk and yogurt and cheese]

By the way, it always depends on the sound and not on the written letter. So even before words that start with I (instead of Y) and that are pronounced correspondingly, an "e" is used and you use the "u" before a word like "hora" [hour], which is pronounced "ora" and therefore begins with a spoken "o".

But why? It's just better to pronounce and sounds better if you do not have to say y y or o o twice.
10/03/2019 at 21:00

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