ma vs. bensì

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New Member
english - USA
Ciao! :) I am learning Italian through an app called Duolingo, and I had a question about 'ma' and 'bensì'. I know they are both the conjunction 'but', however, are they used interchangeably or is one more common than the other? Or are there certain rules as to when to use them? Sorry if this seems like a strange question!

(I hope I put this in the right thread. I wasn't too entirely sure where it should go!)
  • Paulfromitaly


    Please bear in mind that
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    Senior Member
    I think "ma" is properly but and "bensì" closer to however. It really depends upon the circumstances.
    Example: "Lui è bello ma antipatico" works just with "ma",
    "Lui è bello bensì antipatico" is incorrect.
    You can always use "bensì", when the first sentence is negative and "bensì" links the second part of the sentence with a positive affirmation:
    "Lui non è bello bensì(ma) buono". If "ma" can be used everywhere because it is usable to connect positive and negative sentences and the other way around, we can't say the same for "bensì".
    This is just my personal thought about your question. I hope I have been useful.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    From this sentence that an Italian friend wrote me ("Dei, degli, delle, della in alcuni contesti non sono più delle preposizioni, bensì degli ARTICOLI generali, come Some e Any.") bensì seems to mean "but rather." That fits with davidforth's explanation from 2009 above, and the WR dictionary suggests it as well, here. But, as usual, I would think context matters.
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