The conditional si (if) is used to express probability, possibility, wonder or conjecture in Spanish. One of the most common ways to use this conjunction is in the so called "si clauses," i.e. conditional sentences that have two parts: the condition, or si clause, and the main clause, which indicates what will happen if the condition of the si clause is met. Here is an example of a si clause in its classic form:
Dicen que si los sueños se cuentan
They say that if you tell your dreams,
después no se cumplen, loco.
then they won't come true, dude.
Caption 43, Muñeca Brava - 41 La FiestaPlay Caption
However, the use of si clauses in Spanish is very versatile. Not only are there several types of si clauses, but also several ways to actually use them in real speech. One notable example is the use of si clauses in questions. Let's review some examples:
In one of our newest videos, we hear a member of the Kikiriki crew using a si clause to make a proposal:
¿Y si nos conseguimos un abrigo de piel de jaguar
How about we get a jaguar fur coat
para que él piense que somos primos de él?
so that he thinks that we are cousins of his?
Captions 24-25, Kikirikí - AnimalesPlay Caption
The use of the conjunction y (and) before the si clause in this type of question is very common, even when it's posible to get rid of it without altering its meaning:
Another common way to introduce a si clause in this type of question is using the phrase qué tal (how about):
Qué tal si yo me inyecto el pulgar en la boca
Maybe if I stick my thumb into my mouth
Caption 59, Calle 13 - Un Beso de DesayunoPlay Caption
It's also very common to combine both the conjunction y (and) and the phrase qué tal (how about) to introduce the si clause:
¿Y qué tal si hablo así?
And what about if I speak like this?
Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario - Una película de terrorPlay Caption
Of course, in the previous two examples, you could perfectly get away with not using the y (and) and qué tal (how about) introductions. But using them would definitely make your speech sound much more like that of a native speaker.
In Spanish, there are even longer phrases that people use in order to introduce a si clause in a question. For example, you can use another question: qué les parece (what do you think):
¿Qué les parece si ahora que se acercan las fiestas navideñas,
Now that the Christmas holidays are coming up,
nos apuntamos a un servicio online... ?
how about signing up for an online service... ?
Captions 29-30, Tecnópolis - Empresas del mar en AlmeríaPlay Caption
Finally, we want to share an interesting substitution of the conditional si (if) for the word tal (such), which you may hear in Colombia and other South American countries:
Entonces, qué tal que nosotros le llevemos un concierto.
Therefore, how about we take a concert to them.
Caption 14, Festivaliando - Mono NúñezPlay Caption
¿Y qué tal si continúas aprendiendo español con uno de nuestros nuevos videos? (And how about you continue learning Spanish with one of our new videos?)