Does ‘si’ have an accent?

Quick answer – generally, ‘’ with an accent means ‘yes’ (for example, ‘Sí, de acuerdo’= ‘YES, I agree’) and ‘si’ without an accent means ‘if’ (for example, ‘Si estás de acuerdo, dime’ = ‘Let me know IF you agree’). But they do both have other uses too!

Intrigued yet? Well, get ready to find out exactly when to use ‘si’ with and without that pesky accent.

When to use ‘’ in Spanish

‘Sí’ with an accent generally means ‘yes’, but it can also be what we call a “reflexive prepositional pronoun”.

As a synonym of ‘yes

Whenever you translate ‘yes’ into Spanish, you’re gonna need to reach for ‘WITH an accent.

Lilia – ¿Te gusta la comida mexicana?

Jamie – ¡, me encanta! ¿A ti?

Lilia – , aunque mi favorita es la comida típica de Veracruz.

Lilia – Do you like Mexican food?

Jamie – Yes, I love it! How about you?

Lilia – Yeah, but my favorite is food from Veracruz.

En la oficina

Analista – ¿Qué te dijo la directora? ¿Aprobó el presupuesto de la campaña?

Gerente – ¡Tenemos el !

At the office

Analyst – What did the CEO tell you? Did she approve the campaign budget?

Manager – We got the green light!

You might also come across ‘sí’ followed by a ‘que’.

‘Sí que’ is actually an affirmation too, but it generally translates to ‘certainly’, ‘really’ of ‘indeed’ in English –

¡Esa que es* una buena oferta!

That certainly is a good offer!

Sí que tienes hambre, ¿eh?

You really are hungry, huh?

Erika’s top tip – if you ever muddle up es’ (‘ser’) and ‘está’ (‘estar’), I strongly suggest you check out our article on the subject.

’ as a reflexive pronoun

But wait! There’s another way to use ‘sí’ with an accent!

It can also be used as a “reflexive prepositional pronoun”, which is basically a type of reflexive pronoun that comes AFTER a preposition.

In this context, ‘’ generally translates to one of the following: ‘yourself’ (‘usted’) / yourselves (‘ustedes’) ‘himself’ (‘él’), ‘herself’ (‘ella’), ‘itself’ and ‘themselves’ (‘ellos’ / ‘ellas’)

Los niños no cabían en sí de alegría.

The children were beside themselves with joy.

El gimnasta no pudo dar más de sí; sus piernas se doblaron de cansancio.

The gymnast couldn’t give more of himself; his legs buckled with exhaustion.

La vida es en sí una gran aventura.

Life itself is a great adventure.

You’ll also frequently find it used with ‘mismo’ or ‘solo’ for further emphasis –

El mecanismo se activa por sí mismo / sí solo

The mechanism activates itself.

Pedro lo aprendió por sí mismo / sí solo.

Pedro taught himself.

Miranda lo arregló por sí misma / sí sola.

Miranda fixed it herself.

Las melodías hablan por sí mismas / sí solas.

The melodies speak for themselves.

When to use ‘si’ in Spanish

Accentless (is that a word?), ‘si’ introduces a CONDITION (i.e., I´ll do “X” IF Y” happens) and it normally translates to ‘if’ and ‘whether’ in English –

Bianca – ¿Vas a ir al cine con nosotros?

Damián – Tal vez, si termino antes unos pendientes.

Bianca – Are you coming to the movies with us?

Damián – Maybe … if I finish my chores first.

These conditions can be either real or imaginary –

Si vas a salir al rato, no olvides sacar la basura.

If you’re going out later, don’t forget to take out the trash.

¿Qué harías si te ganaras un millón de dólares?

What would you do if you won a million dollars?

Si‘ can also introduce a past condition –

Si hubiera sabido que iba a llover, me habría traído el paraguas.

If I had known it was going to rain, I would have brought my umbrella.

¿Cómo es que reprobaste el examen, si estudiaste toda la semana?

How come you failed the test, if you studied all week?

And it can also be used as a synonym of ‘whether’–

No sé si voy a entrenar hoy o mañana.

I don’t know whether I’m gonna train today or tomorrow.

And there are specific cases – especially in exclamations – in which ‘si’ refers to a previous condition, but its translation would be closer to the English word ‘but’

¿No trajiste paraguas? ¡Si te dije que iba a llover!

Didn’t you bring an umbrella? But I told you it was going to rain!

As the musical note ‘B’ or ‘ti

Finally, ‘si’ without an accent is also the musical note ‘B’ or ‘ti’ (think “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”)!

En el recital de piano de un amigo

Adriana – ¿Sabes qué pieza va a tocar Iván?

Gerardo – Aquí está en el programa: va a tocar Sonata para piano en si menor de Liszt.

At a friend’s piano recital

Adriana – Do you know what piece of music Iván’s gonna play?

Gerardo – Here it is on the program: he’s playing Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor.

Final thoughts

Hopefully this article will serve as a trusty guide every time you’re unsure whether to use ‘sí’ or ‘si’.

It’s crazy how a little accent can change the meaning of a word! It might be challenging and a bit intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s one of those particularities that actually makes the Spanish language quirky and fun!

Oh, and if you wanna keep improving your Spanish orthography, make sure to head over to out article on como’ and ‘cómo (yep, another accent conundrum!) next.

¡Hasta pronto!

’ vs ‘si’ quiz

Choose between ‘sí’ or ‘si’

1. __________ quieres, mejor vamos al cine mañana.

2. ¡Claro que __________! Me encantaría salir a bailar contigo.

3. __________ la vida te da limones, haz limonada.

4. ¡__________, de verdad! ¡Te juro que vi un fantasma!

5. __________, claro; puedes usar el coche cuando lo necesites.

6. __________ no limpias tu cuarto, no vas a la fiesta.

7. ¿Podrías tocar ese compás de nuevo? Creo que __________ está desafinado.

8. Mónica tiene mucha presencia; habla con gran confianza en __________ misma.

9. No estoy seguro de __________ tomar el metro o pedir un Uber.

10. ¡Aprender un nuevo idioma es en __________ un gran logro!

Answers –

1. Si  

2. sí 

3. Si  

4. Sí 

5. Sí   

6. Si   

7. si   

8. sí   

9. si   

10. sí   

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