The WEIRDNESS of Spanish CONFIRMATIONS like ¿SI, NO?

The WEIRDNESS of Spanish CONFIRMATIONS like ¿SI, NO?

MAURA
Tú no sabías que ponerte hoy, ¿no?
(You didn’t know what to wear today, did you?)

ALEX
Sí.
(Yes.)

MAURA
¿Sí sabes qué ponerte, o sí que no sabes qué ponerte?
(Yes, you know what to wear or yes, you don’t know what to wear?)

ALEX
¿Ah? No sé qué ponerme.
(Oh? I don’t know what to wear.)

Confirmations in Spanish can get that tricky every now and then. But, this isn’t really a complex subject, it’s just completely different from what happens in English.

Soy Maura de Spring Spanish, and let’s figure out how to ask for confirmation in Spanish like a true native speaker. ¡Empecemos!

1. Using “¿sí?” to ask for confirmations

MAURA
Hablamos más tarde, ¿sí?
(We’ll talk later, alright?)

ALEX
Sí, seguro.
(Yes, sure.)

MAURA
Me recuerdas si no te llamo, ¿vale?
(You’ll remind me if I don’t call you, ok?)

ALEX
Ok. Cero rollo.
(Ok. No problem. (lit.: zero roll.))  

Chunk Alert!

Me encanta enseñarles cosas de mi español venezolano. (I love teaching you things from my Venezuelan Spanish.) Cero rollo (no problem) is a hundred percent one of those things. Yo ni siquiera me atrevo a decir esto en España (I don’t even dare to say this in Spain.) For Venezuelans, a rollo (roll) is a problem. Something that is abstractly rolled up or wrapped. Cero (zero) is the number. Now, Spanish in general can use this number like English uses “no”. For example:

pau dice: Es igual en Mexico! Por ejemplo: Aunque vivo en la CDMX sigo teniendo un numero de cancun porque cambairse de proveedor, es todo un rollo!!!!

  • I have no energy: tengo cero energía.

¿Do you mind if I open the window?

  • No: cero.

Go check that link down below, if you haven’t already, so you can get our free Essential Spanish Chunking kit. You’ll find many everyday chunks in there!

Ahora, de vuelta a nuestro diálogo. (Now, back to our dialogue.) How did we ask for confirmation?

  • Hablamos más tarde, ¿sí? (We’ll talk later, alright?): using ¿sí? this way will create the feeling that you’re requesting something from the other person. O sea (Meaning), more than confirming that we’ll talk later, I was asking Alex if we could talk later. You’ll see the difference even clearer when we get to using “¿no?” instead.
  • Me recuerdas si no te llamo, ¿vale?  (You’ll remind me if I don’t call you, ok?): this “¿vale?” works very much like an “ok?”. Spanish people, I mean from Spain, use this more than anyone. Pero, los venezolanos, por ejemplo, llevan mucho tiempo utilizando esta palabra para otros fines y ahora la utilizan cada vez más de esta manera. (But, Venezuelans, for instance, have long used this word for other reasons and are now more using it in this way.)
  • Me ducho y salimos, ¿ok? (I’ll shower and we’ll go, ok?): let’s talk about this because though it is definitely an English word, we use it as naturally as English does. So, you could hear things like:
    • Tú lleva la comida y yo llevo la bebida, ¿ok? (You bring the food and I’ll bring the drinks, ok?)

Before we move on, know this: confirming with “sí”, or any of its equivalents like “vale” or “ok”, is far less common than confirming with “no”. Let’s check out why in the next section.  

2. Using “¿no?” to ask for confirmations

A veces (Sometimes), we would use and no together to ask for confirmation: sí, ¿no? (yes, no?) Do stick around till the end when we’ll uncover what’s up with that.

MAURA
Qué buena película, ¿no?
(What a great movie, isn’t it?)

ALEX
Sí, ¡me encantó!
(Yes, I loved it!)

MAURA
Mucho mejor que la de ayer.
(Much better than yesterday’s.)

ALEX
¡¿Verdad?! A mí no me gustó nada esa película.
(Right?! I didn’t like that movie at all.)

Now, here’s the king of kings of asking for confirmations in Spanish. Do use “¿no?” for everything you want actual confirmation on. Things like:

  • Salimos pronto, ¿no? (We leave soon, don’t we?)
  • Mejor pedimos comida, ¿no? (We better order food, shouldn’t we?)
  • Mañana es jueves, ¿no? (Tomorrow is Thursday, isn’t it?)

Just in case this gets confusing, let’s make sure we know how to answer this. If someones asks:

  • Tú comes picante, ¿no? (You eat spicy, don’t you?)

Answers could be:

  • (yes): this means you do eat spicy food.
  • No (no): this means you don’t eat spicy food.

“¿Verdad?” can be a great substitute for “¿no?”. Especially when you think the other person will agree. So you could say:

  • Los últimos años han sido súper raros, ¿verdad? (The last few years have been super weird, haven’t they?): tipo (like (lit.: type)), do not tell me you don’t agree. Or, do tell me in the comments!
  • Las vacaciones siempre se hacen cortas, ¿verdad? (Vacations are always going short, don’t they?)

You could also do what Alex did and use “¿verdad?” on its own if you agree with the other person. Much like “right?” works in English. Por ejemplo (for example):

MAURA
No soporto que llueva todos los días.
(I can’t stand it raining every day.)

ALEX
¡¿Verdad?! Yo tampoco.
(Right?! Me neither.)

3. Using: “sí, ¿no?” pronouns and “o” to ask for confirmations

Here’s that crazy thing with “sí” and “no” together that will make sense sometimes. Let’s check it out.

MAURA
Tú me habías dicho que te quedabas a dormir. Sí, ¿no?
(You told me you were staying over. You did, didn’t you?)

ALEX
¡Sí! Mañana no tengo que levantarme temprano. ¿Tú sí, no?
(Yes! I don’t have to get up early tomorrow. You do, don’t you?)

MAURA
No, al final no tengo que salir temprano. ¿O sí? No sé, déjame confirmar y te aviso.
(No, in the end I don’t have to go out early. Or do I? I don’t know, let me confirm and I’ll let you know.)

ALEX
Jajaja, vale.
(Hahaha, ok.)

Alright, a lot to unpack here. Primero (first), let’s focus on that “sí, ¿no?” combination. It actually works just the same as any confirmation that uses “¿no?”. It’s just that, this time, what you’re confirming is the “sí”. Por ejemplo (For example):

  • Ustedes habían pedido comida, sí, ¿no? (You had ordered food, didn’t you?)
  • Querías otra cerveza, sí, ¿no? (You wanted another beer, didn’t you?)

In both of these cases you already think the answer is “yes”. Most likely because something happened or was said before that makes you think so. You could even think about this “sí, ¿no?” like what we use to reconfirm a “yes”.

  • Les dije que revisaran el enlace en la descripción, sí, ¿no? (I told you to check the link in the description, didn’t I?)

Now, what’s up with using  pronouns like in:“¿Tú sí, no?” or “o”, like in: “¿O sí?” ? Check out the following examples:

  • Mañana no tengo que levantarme temprano. ¿Tú sí, no? (I don’t have to get up early tomorrow. You do, don’t you?)
  • ¿O sí? No sé, déjame confirmar y te aviso. (Or do I? I don’t know, let me confirm and I’ll let you know.)

Let’s first talk about “o”. Like:.

  • No tenemos que llevar nada, ¿o sí? (We don’t have to bring anything, do we?): we use this “¿o sí?” at the end to ask for a confirmation in case what we just said is wrong.
  • Hay que llevar algo, ¿o no? (We have to bring something, don’t we?): you can do the same with “o no”. I said we do have to bring something but I ask “¿o no?” at the end in case I’m wrong.

As you can see, you would use “¿o si?” if the sentence is negative and “¿o no?” is the sentence is affirmative. Same logic behind question tags in English like: “don’t you?” or “do you?”.

Using a pronoun before “sí” and “no”:

  • Yo no tengo frío, ¿tú sí? (I’m not cold, are you?): Same logic. For an affirmative sentence use a negative confirmation and vice versa.
  • Ellos leen muchísimo, ¿ustedes no? (They read a lot, don’t you?): Use the pronoun of whomever you’re talking to. In this case, I’m asking ustedes (plural you).

4. Practice

Finish these sentences with the appropriate confirmation question. Let me know your answers in the comments and I’ll check them out for you. Advertencia (Warning), for one of these both options are correct!

  1. Están aprendiendo un montón de español. (You are learning a lot of Spanish.)
    • ¿O sí?
    • ¿O no?

2. Yo no hablo mandarín. (I do not speak Mandarin.)

  • ¿Tú sí?
  • ¿Tú no?

3. Qué alivio que ya pasó el invierno. (What a relief that winter’s over.)

  • ¿Sí?
  • ¿Verdad?

4. Nos vemos en el próximo video.

  • ¿Sí?
  • ¿No?

Ahora (Now), questions do have their own personality in Spanish so continue this lesson with Spring Spanish teacher Mariana by clicking the image on the screen. You’ll find out many tips to ask questions in Spanish! ¡Nos vemos!

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