Have you ever heard about SI clauses? Did you know what they are used for in Spanish language? If you want to know more, we invite you to read the post of our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem 😉
SI clauses are used to express a condition that is (or not) likely to be fulfilled so that a certain situation happen. Si clauses and result clauses are both parts of the conditional sentence. They are closely connected, i.e. as the first clause expresses the condition and the second one introduces the result or consequence of it.
In other words, they tell about likely, unlikely and impossible situations, referring to present, past and future.
So, let’s analyse when we use this structure and how to do it correctly in Spanish.
1. First of all, we use SI clause to express LIKELY SITUATIONS that may happen in the present or in the future.
In this case we use, PRESENT indicative (SI clause) + PRESENT or FUTURE indicative or IMPERATIVE (result clause).
The mode of the verb depends on the intention behind the message we express (i.e., giving an order or suggestion, expressing a future plan, asking, etc.)
Si mi hermana me presta el coche, vamos a la playa
If my sister lends her car to me, we go the beach
Si no te encuentras bien, quédate en casa
If you don’t feel well, stay at home!
Si tengo vacaciones en agosto, ¿vendrás conmigo a Noruega?
If I have holidays in August, will you come to Norway with me?
When we talk about universal truths, general rules and situations that occur regularly, we always use the Present Indicative in the SI clause.
Si dejas el helado encima de la mesa, se derrite
If you leave the ice cream on the table, it melts
2. Secondly, we find SI clause to express UNLIKELY SITUATIONS as the condition is unreal, impossible or hardly to be fulfilled.
In this case, we use IMPERFECT subjunctive (SI clause) + CONDITIONAL (result clause).
Si pudiera viajar en el tiempo, volvería a los años 70 (imposible condition)
If I could travel in time, I would go back to the 70’s
Si tuviera más tiempo, me iría al cine esta noche (improbable condition, at the time of speaking)
If I had more time, I would go the cinema tonight
3. Thirdly, we use SI clause in cases when we express IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS in the past.
To better say, when the condition was unmet and not accomplished in the past, therefore it cannot be changed.
Therefore, the consequence of the unmet condition also refers to an impossible situation, as it could not happen.
In this case, in the conditional sentence, we find PLUSPERFECT subjunctive (SI clause) +
– PAST CONDITIONAL (result clause), when we speak about an unrealized hypothetical past situation
– PRESENT CONDITIONAL (result clause), when we speak about an unlikely hypothetical present or future situation
Si hubieras abierto la puerta, el gato se habría escapado
If you had opened the door, the cat would have run away
(i.e., you did not open the door, so the cat is still at home)
Si hubiera cogido el bus, ahora ya estaría en casa
If I had taken the bus, now I would stay home
(i.e. but I did not, so I am not home yet)
We really hope this post helped you learn how to use SI clause to express possibilities and condition.
As usual, we will wait for you at our Spanish school el Rincón del Tándem, where you will learn this and much more about Spanish grammar and language.
So, sing up here and start increasing your Spanish level with our cheap Spanish courses in Valencia 😉
Till the next blog!