Did you know that the Spanish words sí (which usually means "yes") and si (which typically means "if") can also serve to make utterances more emphatic? Today's lesson will explore this topic.
Like English words such as "do" or did," "really," or "indeed," the Spanish word sí (yes) can be employed to add emphasis. For example, when someone says you didn't do something, you might reply in English, "I did do it," "I really did it," or "I did it indeed." Similarly, in Spanish, you can use the word sí (with an accent) to retort: Yo sí lo hice (I did do it).
Like the aforementioned words, this use of sí has a purely emphatic effect. While you could say simply Yo lo hice (I did it), Spanish speakers commonly add this sí to emphasize that fact. Let's look at some additional examples:
Ah claro, ahora sí lo entiendo hija, ¡qué torpe soy!
Oh, of course, now I do understand it, girl. How clumsy I am!
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Uy, si piensan arreglar con ese tipo, la cosa sí va a estar dura.
Oh, if you're thinking of settling with that guy, the matter's really going to be tough.
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¡Guau! Eso sí que era divertido
Wow! That was fun indeed,
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Note that, as in the last example, this emphatic sí is often accompanied by the word que.
The Spanish word si, without the accent, which usually means "if," can also be used at the beginning of a phrase to give extra emphasis or oomph to assertions or expressions of doubt. This emphatic si is a bit less intuitive for English speakers because, as it does not introduce a conditional clause like si and "if" typically do, translating it as "if" would simply not make sense in most cases. For this reason, this emphatic si is often not reflected in translations at all. Let's look at a couple of examples.
No, si yo ya sé que Nicolás de eso no va a ver ni un peso.
No, I already know that Nicolás is not going to see even one peso out of that.
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Andrea... Andrea, si vos sabés que yo soy fiel a muerte.
Andrea... Andrea, you know that I am faithful to death.
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Since the word "but" can also serve to add emphasis in English in similar utterances, translators sometimes opt to translate the emphatic si with that word, like in the following example:
Si yo lo estoy diciendo hace rato ya, hombre.
But I've been saying it for a while already, man.
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That said, as the word "but" won't always seem "just right" in sentences that include the emphatic si, the most important thing is to remember is that its function is to add this emphatic feeling, even when there is no tangible translation.
While it might seem initially confusing, we hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the words sí and si can occasionally depart from their traditional meanings in order to add emphasis to certain phrases. Having said that, sí que pueden escribirnos con sus dudas y comentarios (you can definitely write us with your questions and comments)!