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Poder Conjugation: How to Conjugate Can, Be Able In Spanish

Poder (Meaning: Can, to be able to) is an essential Spanish verb. The conjugation of poder in the present tense is: Yo puedo (I can, am able), tú puedes (you can, are able), él/ella/usted puede (he/she can, is able; you can, are able), nosotros podemos (we can, are able), vosotros podéis (you can, are able) and ellos/ellas/ustedes pueden (they/you can, are able).

Poder (can, to be able) conjugation chrats.

Poder is an irregular ER verb. While its endings when conjugated in the preset tense are the same as other regular ER verb, it has an irregular stem. This page our site explains regular and irregular Spanish ER verbs in detail.

Poder conjugation in the present tense

Further down this page we provide conjugation tables with example sentences for poder for the following commonly used tenses:

  • Present tense (presente de indicativo)
  • Near future tense (futuro proximo)
  • Future tense (futuro)
  • Preterite (préterito)
  • Present perfect indicative (perfecto de indicativo)
  • Imperfect (imperfecto de indicativo)
  • Conditional (potencial simple)
  • Present subjunctive (presente de subjuntivo)

Poder conjugation table

Poder conjugation table

Poder: twelve verb tenses in the “yo” form

The following graphic provides the forms for the first-person singular (yo) of poder in 12 verb tenses.

Poder (can, to be able) conjugation in 12 tenses in the first-person (yo) form.

Poder conjugation charts

Present tense (el presente de indicativo)

In the present tense, yo puedo translates to “I can” and “I am able to”.

yo puedoI can, am ableYo puedo hacer muchas cosas.I can do a lot of things.
tú puedesyou can, are ableTú puedes hablar español. You can speak Spanish.
él/ella, usted puedehe/she/you can; he/she is able, you are ableElla no puede venir esta noche. She isn't able to come tonight.
nosotros podemoswe can, are ableNosotros podemos ir a la fiesta.We can go to the party.
vosotros podéisyou can, are ableVosotros podéis cocinar la paella.You can cook the paella.
ellos/ellas, ustedes puedenthey/you can, are able Ellos pueden ayudarnos.They area able to help us.

Near future tense (futuro proximo)

The near future tense is formed with the following construction: Ir (to go) conjugated in the present tense + preposition a + infinitive. Yo voy a poder translates to “I’m going to be able”.

yo voy a poderI am going to be ableVoy a poder viajer a Colombia. I'm going to be able to travel to Colombia.
tú vas a poderyou are going to be ableVas a poder comprar el coche.You're going to be able to buy the car.
él/ella, usted va a poderhe/she/you is (are) going to be ableÉl va a poder trabajar aquí.He's going to be able to work here.
nosotros vamos a poderwe are going to be ableVamos a poder viver a MadridWe're going to be able to live in Madrid.
vosotros vais a poderyou will be ableVais a poder alquilar el piso.You're going to be able to rent the apartment.
ellos/ellas, ustedes van a poderyou/they are going to be ableEllos van a poder conseguir las visas.They're going to be able to get the visas.

Future tense (futuro)

In the future tense, yo podré translates to “I will be able”.

yo podréI will be ableYo podré ayudarte. I'll be able to help you.
tú podrásyou will be able¿Podrás venir a la fiesta?Will you be able to come to the party?
él/ella, usted podráhe/she/you will be ableÉl podrá solucionar el problema. He'll be able to solve the problem.
nosotros podremoswe will be ableNosotros podremos analizar la situación.We'll be able to analyze the situation.
vosotros podréisyou will be ableVosotros podréis pedir disculpas.You'll be able to apologize.
ellos/ellas, ustedes podránthey/you will be ableEllos podrán disfrutar de su jubilación.They'll be able to enjoy their retirement.

Preterite (préterito)

The preterite tense is used to express completed actions in the past. Yo pude translates to “I was able” and “I could”.

yo pudeI was able, couldNo pude traducir el documento.I wasn't able to translate the document.
tú pudisteyou were able, couldTú pudiste comprar el televisor.You were able to buy the TV.
él/ella, usted pudohe/she/you was (were) able, couldÉl pudo encontrar un coche nuevo.He was able to find a new car.
nosotros pudimoswe were able, couldNosotros pudimos irnos de vacaciones.We could go on vacation.
vosotros pudisteisyou were able, couldNo pudisteis trabajar el fin de semana.You couldn't work on the weeknds.
ellos/ellas, ustedes pudieronthey/you were able, couldEllos pudieron disfrutar de su tiempo en Argentina.They were able to enjoy their time in Argentina.

Past indefinite (perfect de indicativo)

The past indefinite tense is used to express past actions which may be on going and have a bearing on the present. Yo he podido translates to “I have been able”.

yo he podidoI have been ableNo he podido contactarlo.I haven't been able to contact him.
tú has podidoyou have been ableHas podido resolver tus broncas.You've been able to resolve your problems.
él/ella, usted ha podidohe/she/you has (have) been ableTodavía no ha podido encontrar una novia.He still hasn't been able to find a girlfriend.
nosotros hemos podidowe have been ableHemos podido disfrutar de los paisajes de este país.We've been able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of this country.
vosotros habéis podidoyou have been ableHabéis podido ganar dinero fácilmente.You've been able to earn money easily.
ellos/ellas, ustedes han podidothey/you have been ableHan podido aprender todos los verbos.They've been able to learn all the verbs.

Imperfect (imperfecto de indicativo)

The imperfect tense is used to express ongoing actions which used to occur in the past. Yo podía translates to “I used to be able to”, “I was able to” and “I could”.

yo podíaI was/used to be able, couldCuando era niño, no podía hablar español.When I was a child I couldn't speak Spanish.
tú podíasyou were/used to be able, couldCuando era estudiante podías estudiar durante mucho tiempo.When you were a student you could study for a long time.
él/ella, usted podíahe/she/you was (were)/used to be able, couldElla nunca podía ser buena en matemáticas.She could never be good at math.
nosotros podíamoswe were/used to be able, couldCuando éramos jovenes podíamos correr rápidamente.When we were young we could run fast.
vosotros podíaisyou were/used to be able, couldCuando estabais a Madrid podíais entender casi todo.When you were in Madrid you could understand almost everything.
ellos/ellas, ustedes podíanthey/you were/used to be able, couldCuando eran adolescente no podían salir sin pedir permiso.When they were teenagers they couldn't go out without asking permission.

Conditional (potencial simple)

The conditional tense is used to express hypothetical situations. Yo podría translates to “I could”. Poder in the conditional is also used to make polite requests.

yo podríaI couldYo podría vender mi departemento pero quiero quedarme aquí.I could sell my apartment but I want to say here.
tú podríasyou could¿Podrías ayudarme, por favor?Could you help me, please?
él/ella, usted podríahe/she/you could¿Podría decirme por qué está estudiando español?Could you tell me why you're studying Spanish?
nosotros podríamoswe couldNosotros podríamos visitar Paris pero preferimos
We could visit Paris but we prefer Monaco.
vosotros podríaisyou couldPodríais darnos el caviar y las langostas, por favor.Could you please give us the caviar and lobsters.
ellos/ellas, ustedes podríanyou/they couldPodrían pedir una botella de vino pero prefieren la champaña.They could order a bottle of wine but they prefer champagne.

Present subjunctive (presente de subjuntivo)

In Spanish, the subjunctive mood is used to express wishes, emotions and doubts. Yo pueda translates to “I can” and “I am able”.

yo puedaI can, am ablePiensa que no pueda ayudarles.He thinks I can't help them.
tú puedasyou can, are able¿Es verdad que no puedas venir?Is it true that you can't come?
él/ella, usted puedahe/she/you can, is (are) ableNo es cierto que no pueda hacer nada.It's not true that he can't do anything.
nosotros podamoswe can, are ableQuiere que podamos hacer el pastel.He wants us to be able to make the cake.
vosotros podáisyou can, are ableEs dudoso que podáis participar esta noche.It's doubtful that you can participate tonight.
ellos/ellas, ustedes puedanthey/you can, are ableNo pienso que puedan asistsir a la reunión.I don't think they can attend the meeting.

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David Issokson