Si [if] followed by past tenses in the indicative

The conjunction "si" can introduce the condition needed for an action in the main clause to be fulfilled. It can be followed by the indicative or the subjunctive. In this lesson we are studying the cases where si is followed by past tenses in the indicative.

When we use si with past tenses in the indicative, we consider the condition expressed in this clause as real or very possible. Have a look at the following examples with different past tenses:

Si ha llovido mucho, las calles tendrán muchos charcos.If it has rained a lot, the streets will have lots of puddles.

Si iba a la peluquería, me gastaba mucho dinero.If I went to the hairdresser, I'd spent a lot of money.

Si tuvo un accidente, no irá al trabajo esta semana.If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.

In all these sentences, what happens in the conditional clause seems real or very possible. We generally use the indicative here when we have had a hint of what happened and we are essentially just stating it, as if we are saying "When this happened... or  "As this happened..."

Bear in mind that si, as a conditional conjunction, does not allow El Futuro Simple or El Condicional Simple.

This would be incorrect:

Si irás a la ciudad,...
Si irías a la ciudad,...

To learn about si clauses followed by El Presente, see:

To learn about si clauses followed by El Imperfecto Subjuntivo, for hypothetical cases, see:

Using El Imperfecto Subjuntivo in hypothetical clauses introduced by si followed by El Condicional Simple

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Si ha llovido mucho, las calles tendrán muchos charcos.If it has rained a lot, the streets will have lots of puddles.
Si tuvo un accidente, no irá al trabajo esta semana.If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.
Si iba a la peluquería, me gastaba mucho dinero.If I went to the hairdresser, I'd spent a lot of money.

Q&A Forum 2 questions, 8 answers

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Two issues not fixed

Hi,

The two problems with use of English posted some time ago are still not fixed.  Hence, I'm still struggling to get to grips with this lesson.

"If I went to the hairdresser's" in English means; "If I were to go".  They are equivqlent.

Similarly.  "If he had an accident"  is equivalent to " if he were  to have an accident".

In both cases, the first sentence is common usage.  The second using the the subjunctive is very uncommon in everyday English.







Asked 3 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Ian,

I think you may be taking this type of conditional as a hypothetical clause in the future, but these clauses using si + past tenses in the indicative are different to "if something were to happen". 

We use these conditional clauses for something that we consider either real or very probable to have happened. As explained in the lesson, it is as if we were stating something that we know happened. To give a bit more context, imagine that your friend "Charles" used to drink a lot every time he went out during the weekend, it happened very often, and then you are explaining to someone about a time in life when you were younger. You could say:

"Cuando teníamos 18 o 19 años, si Charles venía con nosotros de copas, se emborrachaba muchísimo"

When we were 18 or 19, if/when Charles went out drinking with us, he used to get really drank."

So, there is no room here for "if Charles were to come drinking with us..." as we are not referring to a future but to a "pretty certain past". 

I will though go back to the lesson and see if we could add a bit more context to it to make this absolutely clear.

Saludos,

Inma

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hola Inma,

The problem is that "if he had an accident" can only refer to a hypothetical event in the future, or a repeated event in the past. Perhaps it should be translated "If he has had an accident"?

I wonder if the hairdresser sentence is similar to your example about Charles - i.e. it refers to a pattern of behaviour in the past? Then perhaps it should be translated "I'd spend" (= "I would spend") rather than "I'd spent"?

Two issues not fixed

Hi,

The two problems with use of English posted some time ago are still not fixed.  Hence, I'm still struggling to get to grips with this lesson.

"If I went to the hairdresser's" in English means; "If I were to go".  They are equivqlent.

Similarly.  "If he had an accident"  is equivalent to " if he were  to have an accident".

In both cases, the first sentence is common usage.  The second using the the subjunctive is very uncommon in everyday English.







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IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

English not making sense

Si iba a la peluquería, me gastaba mucho dinero.
If I went to the hairdresser, I spent a lot of money.

Sorry but I can't make any sense out of the use of  English in this example.

"When I went to the hairdresser, I spent a lot of money"   No problem

"If I had been to the hairdresser, I would have spent a lort of money"  OK

"If I were to go to the hairdresser, I would spend a lot of money"

"If I go to the hairdresser, I shall spend a lot of money"

The example:  If I went to the hairdreser, I spent a lot of money" is not good English.

Hope this can be of help.


Ian B




Asked 2 months ago
ShuiKwiziq team member

Hola Ian

We'll fix that right away!

Gracias

Shui

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Still struggling with English here.  (My native language)

Si iba a la peluquería, me gastaba mucho dinero.
If I went to the hairdresser, I'd spent a lot of money.

If I went to the hairdressers:   A possible furure event.   (Not a past event)

I would spend  a lot of money.......  Shorten to I'd spend a lot of money but NOT  I'd spent a lot of money.

I think it is the problem in many languages:  the verb "TO GO"  

maybe better to find another example to illustrate the principles of the lesson

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Sorry, but this isn't quite right:

If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.

If he had an accident, he wouldn't go to work this week

OR

If he has had an accident, he won't go to work this week

or even better

If he has had an accident, he won't be going to  work this week.

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Sorry, but this isn't quite right:

If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.

If he had an accident, he wouldn't go to work this week

OR

If he has had an accident, he won't go to work this week

or even better

If he has had an accident, he won't be going to  work this week.

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Sorry, but this isn't quite right:

If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.

If he had an accident, he wouldn't go to work this week

OR

If he has had an accident, he won't go to work this week

or even better

If he has had an accident, he won't be going to  work this week.

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Sorry, but this isn't quite right:

If he had an accident, he won't go to work this week.

If he had an accident, he wouldn't go to work this week

OR

If he has had an accident, he won't go to work this week

or even better

If he has had an accident, he won't be going to  work this week.

English not making sense

Si iba a la peluquería, me gastaba mucho dinero.
If I went to the hairdresser, I spent a lot of money.

Sorry but I can't make any sense out of the use of  English in this example.

"When I went to the hairdresser, I spent a lot of money"   No problem

"If I had been to the hairdresser, I would have spent a lort of money"  OK

"If I were to go to the hairdresser, I would spend a lot of money"

"If I go to the hairdresser, I shall spend a lot of money"

The example:  If I went to the hairdreser, I spent a lot of money" is not good English.

Hope this can be of help.


Ian B




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