si clause + Present Tense

rainbow_swirl

Senior Member
England, English
I've seen lots of si clauses recently (at least I think they're si clauses!) which I don't know how to translate.

Here are some examples:

si yo no puedo impedirles que trabajen
si yo he abierto porque ellas quieren venir
si es lo que yo digo

I don't understand what si means in this type of clause - it can't be if surely?

Thank you for your help!
 
  • teacherrr

    Member
    spanish
    In some sentences "si" means unless or as long as, providing.
    -Unless I can prevent them from working...
    -I've opened because they want to come (here I think "si" is used to enphasize why I've opened, it depends on the context)
    -Providing I'm right....
     

    william_wilson

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    It all depends on context.

    For example,
    "Si yo no puedo impedirles que trabajen, entonces otro lo impedirá" =
    "If I can't prevent them from working, then other will"

    But

    "¿Por qué debería echarlas? Si yo no puedo impedirles que trabajen" =
    "Why should I fire them? I just can't prevent them from working"

    As you realise, "si" does not always mean the same. In this last case it means nothing specifically, it's just a bridge from the first part of the sentence to the second. "Given the fact (because) I can't prevent them from working, I won't hire them." But, in the other case, "if it's not me who'll prevent them from working, then some other person will have to".

    As regards "si yo he abierto porque ellas quieren venir":

    "¿Por qué cierras la puerta? Si yo he abierto porque ellas quieren venir" =
    "Why are you closing the door? I've opened it because they want to come in"

    In this case, "si" has a different connotation to "if". It gives some kind of impression like "the reason why I've opened it is because they want to come in". When disappointed about something, you can use "si" in that sense. "¿Ya has comprado el libro? Si yo quería regalártelo para tu cumpleaños..." "Have you already bought that book? Oh, I wanted to give it to you for your birthday". Can you see the emotional connotation? That's what I meant by "disappointment".

    But, "si yo he abierto porque ellas quieren venir" in a different context can mean a completely different thing.
    For example,

    "Si yo he abierto porque ellas quieren venir entonces la puerta debe permanecer abierta, ¿quedó claro?" =
    "If it's me who opened the door because they want to come in, then it must remain open, do I make myself clear?"

    Regarding the third sentence,

    "Si es lo que yo digo entonces es la verdad"
    "If it's what I say then it's true"

    but,
    'La raíz cuadrada de 4 es 2' you say,
    'Incorrecto' your teacher says
    'La raíz cuadrada de 4 es 2' another student says
    'Muy bien alumno, tiene un diez' the teacher replies. And you can say to your classmate right next to you, 'Por qué a ella sí y a mí no? Si es lo que yo digo!!"

    In English I think that in this case you can also say "Why her and not me? If it's what I say!"

    Well I hope I could help you
    regards
     

    rainbow_swirl

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Wow! Thanks for your help guys - and William_Wilson!! Amazing explanation! It's interesting that there are so many different possibilities with si - I'd never really realised that before. :)
     

    roanheads

    Senior Member
    Scotland, english
    Hi rainbow,
    As well as meaning " if " , " si " is frequently used as William says,--- to explain it a little more, in such cases it turns a remark into a protest.
    ¿ Por qué a ella, y a mí no.? Si, es lo que yo digo,--" Indeed, it is what I am saying."-- or " But it is what I am saying.
    In these cases " si " is used to emphasize sense of protest.
    Cheers.
     
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