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Can someone help explain how this sentence works in terms of sentence structure?

Creo que sí

'Sí' is an adverb, why don't we just say "creo sí", what's the purpose of putting que there?

Similarly, there is these phrases "no hay de qué", "y a mí qué", " ay de ti si te cojo" and "hace como que no", whose sentence structures all seem weird to me.

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  • Note the difference between as an adverb to say 'Yes' and si as a conjunction to say 'If'.
    – fedorqui
    Mar 11, 2022 at 11:23
  • You have mixed together idiomatic expressions and other speech spoken things that are not idioms. Such as: Ay de ti si te cojo. Poor you if I catch you. [stealing something for example]. You need to ask these questions separately.
    – Lambie
    Mar 12, 2022 at 0:48

3 Answers 3

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"Que" is a conjunction that introduces subordinate clauses and cannot be omitted in Spanish. These syntactic units(adverbial particles) need to rely on previous context in order to be understood and interpreted. E.g. Q: ¿Estuvo con nosotros? A: Sí, me parece que sí/creo que sí, eso creo, hmmm sí estuvo (=I think he/she was). Unlike Spanish, English would overtly express the subject. ¿Es puntual? Supongo que sí(=I guess probably she did)

  • Q: ¿Van a venir? A: Yo no.(Q: Are you coming? A: I don’t.)

English would use auxiliary verbs instead.

  • Q: ¿Hay fiesta? A: Parece./Parece que sí.(Q: Is it a party? A: I think so/I think it is)

Some authors use either the term "adverbial particle" (with syntactic independence) or "polar adverb" (providing positive or negative polarity to the sentence). Anyway, this happens in both languages, "so" doesn't mean anything to me it must be interpreted either positively or negatively, it will depend only on the previous context on which it supports itself.

https://www.academia.edu/43959022/Polar_Verbless_Clauses_and_Gapping_Subordination_in_Spanish

"No hay de qué" is like saying there’s nothing to thank me for(Don't mention it) Some people say it's dequeism, that is, the inclusion of the preposition "de" is a subordinate phrase normally introduced by the conjunctive pronoun "que" alone.

"Y a mí qué" (What's that got to do with me?) this situation has nothing to do with me.

  • "¡Ay de ti si ..." (if-clause) woe to you if/ If you do/don't you'll regret it.

¡ay de ti! LOCUCIÓN ( ¡ay de ustedes!) 1 Expresión con que se amenaza a alguien si no cumple o hace lo que se le pide. ¡ay de vosotros si me desobedecéis!

  • "Sabe donde está, pero hace como que no" (=he/she pretends not to./He/She's pretending not to.)(in order not to be redundant)

The following was stated in the previous sentence, but ending a sentence with a preposition is usually considered grammatically incorrect. E.g. It's better not to. You would have been a fool not to.

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Creo que sí.

means:

I think so. I believe so.

This is known as being idiomatic in a language. These idiomatic uses don't always work the same way in English.

No hay de qué, is another idiomatic usage that means: You're welcome. [Literally, there is nothing to thank me for.]

Hay de que quejarse. There is something to complain about. A similar use.

These uses have to be learned by heart.

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In most cases you cree en/que:

  • El cree en los fantasmas.
  • Ella cree que los fantasmas no existen.

However, instead of

  • Ellos creen en algo

we usually say

  • Ellos creen algo... (= ellos sospechan algo)

without que or en, to mean that they are suspicious about something.

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