MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

579 views

How can I use 'IF' phrases/'SI' clauses?

These 'if' phrases or 'si' clauses in Spanish are sometimes tricky to understand but can really boost your essay or oral exams. They aren't complicated to use once you understand them and can help to get that variety of tenses into your work. 

There are 3 main set-ups for using this structure. 

1. Present indicative 

This is when the condition is taking place in the present and the result of the condition will also either be in the present or the future

The structure is SI + present indicative + present/future/imperative 

So, as an example:

Si llueve, no vamos a la playa 

Translation as: If it rains, we will not go to the beach.

As you can see, the first verb, llover - to rain, is in the present and the result, going to the beach, is in the future. 

2. Past Subjunctive 

This second structure is slightly more complex and is used in circumstances when the condition is not true. The condition is therefore past and subjunctive and the result is conditional, since it is not true. 

The structure is SI + imperfect subjunctive + conditional 

For example,

Si yo fuera estudiante de ciencias, yo sería muy triste. 

Translated as: If I were a science student, I would be very unhappy 

And the verb ser is in the past subjunctive (fuera) and is used again in the conditional at the end (sería). 

3. Pluperfect Subjunctive 

Lastly, the third structure is used when past fact is false in comparison to Structure 2 where present fact is false. So the condition is one step behind the past so is still subjunctive but also pluperfect and the result is still conditional but in the past.

The structure is: SI + pluperfect subjunctive + past conditional 

This becomes more clear with an example. 

Si yo hubiera tenido más dinero, yo habría ido de compras.

Translation: If I had had more money, I would have gone shopping.

It describes something that could or would have happened if something else had happened too. 

We see huberia tenido in the pluperfect subjunctive and habría ido is the past conditional. 

Hopefully this makes this often confused but very useful structure a little clearer! My advice would be to just keep practising. Perhaps aim to write out 10-15 phrases for each of the 3 structures to really make sure they are clear in your mind :) 

Emily F. GCSE French tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor...

11 months ago

Answered by Emily, an A Level Spanish tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

81 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£24 /hr

Nikita K.

Degree: Spanish and Linguistics (Bachelors) - Oxford, Hertford College University

Subjects offered:Spanish, English+ 3 more

Spanish
English
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Oxford studying Spanish and Linguistics. I've always had a love for learning and I really enjoy instilling that passion in others. I understand the importance of varied and innovati...”

Sahil M. A Level Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Chemistry...
£20 /hr

Sahil M.

Degree: Medicine (Bachelors) - Manchester University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Maths+ 3 more

Spanish
Maths
Chemistry
Biology
-Medical School Preparation-

“Hello! My name is Sahil and I am currently a medical student at the University of Manchester. I am really looking forward to tutoring you in Spanish, Chemistry, Biology or Maths as well as trying to help you during the difficult proce...”

£26 /hr

Adham S.

Degree: MPhil General Linguistics and Comparative Philology (Masters) - Oxford, St Anne's College University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Portuguese+ 8 more

Spanish
Portuguese
Japanese
French
English Literature
English Language
Arabic
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
-Personal Statements-

“I am currently pursuing the MPhil in Linguistics and Philology at St Anne's, Oxford, having graduated in 2013 with a first in Linguistics and Georgian from SOAS, University of London.Language and languages have always been my keenest ...”

About the author

Emily F.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: BA French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Spanish, French+ 1 more

Spanish
French
-Personal Statements-

“About Me- I am a 3rd Year Modern Languages student at Durham University studying French and Spanish and I'm currently on my Year Abroad, living in Barcelona. I have always loved all things French and Spanish and I am really passionate ...”

You may also like...

Posts by Emily

How can I use 'IF' phrases/'SI' clauses?

What is an easy way to include the subjunctive?

Other A Level Spanish questions

What is the best way to accurately translate during an exam?

When is the subjunctive used in Spanish?

What is the difference between 'Ser' and 'Estar'?

What are the general accent rules in Spanish?

View A Level Spanish tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok