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Emphatic Uses of and Si

Did you know that the Spanish words  (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.


The Emphatic Sí

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  (with an accent) to retort: Y 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 lo entiendo hija, ¡qué torpe soy!

Oh, of course, now I do understand it, girl. How clumsy I am!

Caption 57, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 7

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Uy, si piensan arreglar con ese tipo, la cosa va a estar dura.

Oh, if you're thinking of settling with that guy, the matter's really going to be tough.

Caption 11, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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¡Guau! Eso sí que era divertido

Wow! That was fun indeed,

Caption 36, Aprendiendo con Silvia Recuerdos de infancia - Part 2

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Note that, as in the last example, this emphatic  is often accompanied by the word que


The Emphatic Si

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.

Caption 21, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 11

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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.

Caption 67, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 4

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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.

Caption 71, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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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)!


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