Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday July 24, 2013

por si, conjunction:
in case

Sometimes you need to do something in case something else happens, and por si is a very handy little phrase in those circumstances.

Siempre dejaba la puerta abierta, por si alguien llegaba de improviso.
She always left the door open in case someone arrived unexpectedly.

Y por si alguien dudaba todavía de su clase...
And in case anybody was in any doubt about his class...

In the above examples por si doesn’t need the subjunctive. In the first one ‘she’ expected that someone would arrive. In the second it is presumed that someone will have some doubts. But if the event referred to is more unlikely, or hypothetical, the subjunctive is used:

Por si hubiera alguna duda...
Just in case there was any doubt about it...

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