Both Russian conjunctions (и, а) are translated in English as “and“. Look at these examples to figure out when they are used.
We use “и” when we have same things. Look at the example 2 – she is saying, “I am Maria and that’s Maria too“. But when we have something different, we use “а“. Look at the example 1: She is saying, “I am Maria and that’s Max.” (Max is a different name from Maria).
You should also know that we use the conjunction “а” at the beginning of question sentences, when we question back. For example,
А: Как дела? – How are you?
Б: Хорошо! А как вы? – Fine. And how are you?