Poder Verb Conjugation in Spanish

Poder is a verb of ability and possibility. It is equivalent in meaning to the English modal verbs "can" and "may", although it can also be translated as "to be allowed to" or "to be able to," among other similar expressions.

poder poder

It is often followed by a second verb in the infinitive, as you can see in the following examples:

  • Puedo correr más rápido que tú. - I can run faster than you
  • ¿Puedo abrir la ventana? - May I open the window?

When it expresses possibility, it can also be followed by que in impersonal structures:

  • Puede que no sea buena idea. - It may not be a good idea.
  • Puede que llueva. - It may rain
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Conjugations

As an irregular verb, poder can change quite a bit depending on what tense it is conjugated in. In some cases, it even shows some irregularities in its stem, as sometimes happens with Spanish verbs. The following tables and examples will help you learn how to conjugate poder properly, so you're not caught off guard by its irregular forms.

Present

Yo

puedo

Nosotros/Nosotras

podemos

Tú (Vos)

puedes (podés)

Vosotros/Vosotras

podéis

Él/Ella/Usted

puede

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

pueden

Examples:

  • No puedo abrirlo, ¿me ayudas? - I can't open it, would you help me?
  • Adelante, pueden entrar - Go ahead, you can come in.

Imperfect

Yo

podía

Nosotros/Nosotras

podíamos

Tú/Vos

podías

Vosotros/Vosotras

podíais

Él/Ella/Usted

podía

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

podían

Examples:

  • Pensé que no podías venir. - I thought you couldn't come.
  • No podíamos ni hablar. - We couldn't even speak.

Preterite

Yo

pude

Nosotros/Nosotras

pudimos

Tú/Vos

pudiste

Vosotros/Vosotras

pudisteis

Él/Ella/Usted

pudo

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

pudieron

Examples:

  • Nunca pude entenderlo. - I could never understand it.
  • Angélica no pudo venir. - Angelica couldn't come.

Future

Yo

podré

Nosotros/Nosotras

podremos

Tú/Vos

podrás

Vosotros/Vosotras

podréis

Él/Ella/Usted

podrá

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

podrán


Examples:

  • ¿Crees que podrás terminar? - Do you think you will be able to finish?
  • En invierno no podremos ir a la playa. - We won't be able to go to the beach in the winter.
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Conditional

Yo

podría

Nosotros/Nosotras

podríamos

Tú/Vos

podrías

Vosotros/Vosotras

podríais

Él/Ella/Usted

podría

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

podrían

Examples:

  • Pensé que podría ganar, pero me equivoqué. - I thought I would be able to win, but I was wrong
  • Si tienen tiempo, podríamos juntarnos. - If you have time, we could get together.

Think of how often you use words like "can" and "may" in English, and you will understand how useful it is to learn the use of poder. So, even if it is an irregular verb, learning its conjugations will surely be time well spent!