Si vs. ci

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Si vs. ci

•  Si and ci are pronounced in the same way, but express completely different meanings. Now’s your chance to know how to tell the difference between the two:

We use si:

To express a proposition or condition:

Si j’avais du temps, je partirais en vacances.
If I had the time, I would go on vacation.

Et si on allait au resto ce soir ?
What if we ate out this evening?

To form an indirect question:

Je me demande si Victor viendra.
I’m asking myself if Victor will come.

To contradict a negation, saying ‘yes’ when someone says ‘no’:

- Tu ne viens pas ? -Aren’t you coming?
- Si ! Attendez-moi ! -Yes! Wait for me!

To add a degree of intensity:

Ce Victor, il est si gentil ! (= tant)
This Victor, he is so kind!

Muriel est si petite qu’elle passe sous la table.
Muriel is so small she can pass under the table.

We use ci:

To stress a demonstrative adjective (as opposed to ):

Ce livre-ci est beaucoup plus intéressant que celui-là.
This book is much more interesting than that one.

Lequel tu préfères ? Celui-ci ou celui-là ?
Which do you prefer? This one or that one?

With an adjective or adverb:
Ci-joint mon CV.
My CV is attached.

Voir texte ci-dessous.
See the text below.

In certain expressions:

Thierry s’est promené par-ci par-là et il s’est perdu.
Thierry walked here and there, and got lost.

De-ci, de-là, la nature renaît après l’hiver. (littéraire)
Here and there, nature is reborn after winter.

Ça va ? Comme ci, comme ça.
How’s it going? So, so.

•  Note that si is contracted to s’ before the personal pronouns il and ils.
S’il ne m’appelle pas, tant pis pour lui ! If he doesn’t call me, too bad for him!

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