HomeQ&AThe meaning of si in expressions with "si no"

The meaning of si in expressions with "si no"

0
votes

I heard a joke recently which contained a piece of grammar that I have seen several times, but don't fully understand. Here's the joke.

? Cariño, ¿te acuerdas lo felices que éramos hace quince años?
? Pero si no nos conocíamos.
? Por eso, cariño, por eso.

The meaning of the joke is obvious, but In the second line, I don't know what the si means, or if it is supposed to be sí (yes) as an emphasizer. Either way, I'm unfamiliar with this grammatical construction.

15380 views
updated SEP 22, 2008
posted by 00bacfba

29 Answers

0
votes

I realize this is a really old discussion, but rather than starting my own I'm posting here. I read this sentence in El león, la bruja, y el ropero and was going to ask about the "pero si".

--¡Pero si ésos no son países! --dijo Lucía casi riendo--.

So is it agreed that the "si" simply adds emphasis to the sentence? I found this example in the dictionary:

¡pero si eso lo sabe todo el mundo! -> come on, everyone knows that!

Could you just leave out the "si"? How would that change the meaning? ¡Pero ésos no son países!

updated SEP 22, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I realize this is a really old discussion, but rather than starting my own I'm posting here. I read this sentence in El león, la bruja, y el ropero and was going to ask about the "pero si".

--¡Pero si ésos no son países! --dijo Lucía casi riendo--.

So is it agreed that the "si" simply adds emphasis to the sentence? I found this example in the dictionary:

¡pero si eso lo sabe todo el mundo! -> come on, everyone knows that!

Could you just leave out the "si"? How would that change the meaning? ¡Pero ésos no son países!

updated SEP 22, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I realize this is a really old discussion, but rather than starting my own I'm posting here. I read this sentence in El león, la bruja, y el ropero and was going to ask about the "pero si".

--¡Pero si ésos no son países! --dijo Lucía casi riendo--.

So is it agreed that the "si" simply adds emphasis to the sentence? I found this example in the dictionary:

¡pero si eso lo sabe todo el mundo! -> come on, everyone knows that!

Could you just leave out the "si"? How would that change the meaning? ¡Pero ésos no son países!

updated SEP 22, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I realize this is a really old discussion, but rather than starting my own I'm posting here. I read this sentence in El león, la bruja, y el ropero:

--¡Pero si ésos no son países! --dijo Lucía casi riendo--.

So is it agreed that the "si" simply adds emphasis to the sentence? I found this example in the dictionary:

¡pero si eso lo sabe todo el mundo! -> come on, everyone knows that!

Could you just leave out the "si"? How would that change the meaning? ¡Pero ésos no son países!

updated SEP 22, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

The movie I saw had all Japanese actors.

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by Denny
0
votes

SINO, todo junto es un sustantivo o nombre común, sinónimo de destino.
-Mi sino es trabajar (es decir: mi destino es trabajar)

SINO
Es una conjunción adversativa (pero, aunque, sin embargo)
? Sirve para contraponer a una cosa que se niega a otra que se afirma: 'No estoy enfermo, sino cansado y de mal humor'.
? Expresa la idea de excepción y, en tal caso, equivale a excepto, salvo: 'Nadie lo dirá sino el charlatán de tu hermano'.
? Equivale a solamente, tan solo: 'No le pedía sino que me tuviera más respeto? .
? Precedida de no solo, la palabra sino, que suele ir entonces acompañada de también, se usa para añadir algo a lo ya expresado: 'No solo era trabajador, sino también inteligente y simpático'.

Cuando introduce una oración con verbo en forma personal va seguida de 'que':
-No lo contrató, sino que lo despidió
-No lo rompí yo, sino que lo rompió mi amigo

SI NO
Es una conjunción condicional negativa. 'si? seguida de 'no? (si no), indica que un concepto depende de otro. Es decir, indica dependencia.
-Pero si no nos conocíamos
-Si no estudias, suspenderás
-Si no vienes conmigo, perderás el autobús
-Si no comes, adelgazarás
-Si no te das prisa, llegarás tarde
-Si no quieres ayudarme, vete

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by Mogor
0
votes

Thank you, Vernic. Yours is the most helpful of the many replies I have received on this thread (although several others were also helpful).

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Esta situación por lo general, el "si" enfatiza una contradicción entre un hecho tangible y uno posible:
¿Te acuerdas lo felices que eramos hace 15 años?
Pero si (hace 15 años) no nos conocíamos (¿eramos felices').

Recuerdo el día de tu boda.
Pero si (el día de mi boda) no estuviste presente (¿Puedes recordarlo')

Desconozco la existencia de una regla formal, pero creo que es una costumbre generalizada en los países de habla hispana, la omisión de frases o partes de ellas que simplemente se dan por entendidas.

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by Vernic
0
votes

Hey, Gustavo, it's never too late to hear from you!

But I think you are mistaken. No es sino sino si no. wink

He visto esta forma muchas veces, y siempre se escribe así, con un espacio entre las dos palabras. Además, la explicación dada en el sitio que me diste no se refiere a esta forma.

I have talked this over with several native speakers, and they all agree that there isn't really any way to translate it into English, but that it is very natural in Spanish. I think the implied meaning is "But, if we didn't [even] know each other, then how could we have been happy together 15 years ago'" That is, in Spanish, the if clause is left unanswered, but the intended meaning is obvious.

Thanks for the note, though!

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

"Red Sun", 1971. Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune, Alain Delon, Ursula Andress.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch'v=ctlgTSzQiHo>

Mifune was an amazing martial artist. And not a bad actor either!

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by Rich
0
votes

You may be referring to "Red Sun" which came out in 1971 starring Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune, Ursula Andress and Alain Delon. Great Western with Mifune demonstrating dazzling swordsmanship.

updated MAY 1, 2008
posted by Rich
0
votes

I have by now been convinced by several native speakers of Spanish that the word in the joke is definitely si, without an accent. What you mention above is what I was wondering about in my original question, that is, whether the use was similar to what you discuss, but that seems not to be the case.

BTW, while the sí in your first example can't really be translated in writing because the verb is "to be" (ser), with other verbs it can indeed be translated, by using the emphatic "do." For instance, your second example can be translated as follows.

  • Do you understand me when I speak slowly?
    -Yes, sir, I do understand you.

The "do" in the English is not grammatically necessary, but adds emphasis, just as the sí does in Spanish.

Furthermore, when the verb is ser, we can add "indeed" to convey the same emphasis as in Spanish. As in:

Sí Eduardo, sí es tu hija - Yes Edward, she is indeed your daughter.

Incidentally, you translated Eduardo as Eddy, but I think Eddy maps more closely to Lalo, the diminutive form of Eduardo.

updated ABR 14, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

another instance of sí (yes) not being translated, and I am not sure that the si in the joke is meant to be if, is as follows.

¿es Leah mi hija? - Is Leah my daughter?
Sí Eduardo, sí es tu hija - Yes Eddy, she is your daughter

This example, along with many others, was given in the Linguaphone Course which I followed. The addition of the second sí is not essential and it cannot be translated. It is there purely for emphasis.

¿Me entiende usted cuando hablo despacio?
Sí señor, sí le entiendo.

updated ABR 14, 2008
posted by Eddy
0
votes

Thanks, but that wasn't what I was asking. The "si no" in the joke is very different from "sino," with which I am quite familiar. Sino would make no sense at all in the context of this joke, and would be grammatically incorrect anyway.

It is rather difficult to find examples of the grammar in question by googling, because most of the hits will be cases where "si no" means "if not," but if you search long enough, you will find many examples of this fairly common construction.

updated ABR 14, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

The function of 'si' in expressions with 'si no', that is the topic.

In expressions with 'si no' , 'sino' is one word, and the meaning is as i have given above.

Unless i'm going completely mad, i'm sure this is what the original poster was asking to be clarified...yes, they wanted to know what the 'si' meant, but what i'm trying to point out is that , because it's followed with 'no' , it becomes the word 'sino' , which means 'rather' or 'but instead'.

updated ABR 14, 2008
posted by elguapo
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.
SOCIAL NETWORKS
APPS