The Spanish verb PODER means ‘to be able to’ or, ‘can’ in English and is a commonly used verb in everyday Spanish, much the same as it is in English. Poder does cause a few problems however as it is a highly irregular verb which is irregular in all tenses with the exception of the imperfect, this includes the tenses of the subjunctive mood and the imperative.
As there is a lot to learn with poder conjugation it is probably best to start with one tense initially and that is why this post will concentrate on conjugating the present tense of poder. There will be future posts covering each of the other irregular tenses and the intention is to interlink all relevant posts…but all in good time.
Conjugation of Poder Present Tense
PODER is one of many vowel changing verbs, in the case of poder in the present tense the o changes to ue in the second and third person singular and the third person plural. Poder has different irregularities in other tenses, which is what makes it particularly difficult to learn, but it is probably best if you just concentrate on this present tense irregularity to start with.
|yo puedo||I can, or am able to|
|tú puedes||you can, or are able to|
|él/ella puede||he/she/it can, or is able to|
|usted puede||you can, or are able to|
|nosotros podemos||we can, or are able to|
|vosotros podéis||you all can, or are able to|
|ellos/ellas pueden||they all can, or are able to|
|ustedes pueden||you all can, or are able to|
That about covers the present tense of poder except to say that the nature of the Spanish verb poder is such that it often functions as an auxiliary verb, meaning that it usually precedes another verb which, in most cases, is the infinitive.
For example: ‘I can go to the cinema’ would translate as ‘Puedo ir al cine’, this is a physical ability, but if you wanted to ask the question ‘Can you drive?’ you would have to use the verb Saber, which means ‘to know’…therefore ‘¿Sabes conducir?’, confusing isn’t it!
Don’t forget to bookmark this post or do a search for any other verbs and tenses you might be having problems with, if you can’t find what you need, post a comment and I’ll do my best to get the relevant information posted!