Ideal Guide to Irregular Spanish Verbs. Poder (Can), Part 1

blog post 47 Ideal Guide to Irregular Spanish Verbs. Poder (Can), Part 1

The irregular Spanish verb poder (can, to be able to) is one you’re going to come across very frequently.

That’s why we’re going to learn to conjugate it in this Ideal Guide to Irregular Spanish Verbs.

Learning the irregular Spanish verb poder well will help you master other very common verbs that are conjugated in a similar way.

To help you get familiar with the irregular Spanish verb poder fast, we’re going to focus in this post on six main tenses: present, present perfect, imperfect, preterite, future and conditional.

Irregular Spanish verb poder. Conjugations

Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Present
yo puedo I can
puedes you (singular, informal) can
él / ella / usted puede he / she / it / you (singular, formal) can
nosotros / nosotras podemos we can
vosotros / vosotras podéis you (plural, informal) can
ellos / ellas / ustedes pueden they / you (plural, formal) can
.
Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Present perfect
yo he podido I have been able to
has podido you (singular, informal) have been able to
él / ella / usted ha podido he/she/it/you (s., f.) has/have been able to
nosotros / nosotras hemos podido we have been able to
vosotros / vosotras habéis podido you (plural, informal) have been able to
ellos/ellas/ustedes han podido they/you (pl., formal) have been able to
.
Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Imperfect
yo podía I was able to
podías you (singular, informal) were able to
él / ella / usted podía he/she/it/you (s., f.) was/were able to
nosotros / nosotras podíamos we were able to
vosotros / vosotras podíais you (plural, informal) were able to
ellos / ellas / ustedes podían they / you (plural, formal) were able to
.
Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Preterite
yo pude I was able to
pudiste you (singular, informal) were able to
él / ella / usted pudo he/she/it/you (s., f.) was/were able to
nosotros / nosotras pudimos we were able to
vosotros / vosotras pudisteis you (plural, informal) were able to
ellos / ellas / ustedes pudieron they / you (plural, formal) were able to
.
Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Future
yo podré I will be able to
podrás you (singular, informal) will be able to
él / ella / usted podrá he/she/it/you (s., f.) will be able to
nosotros / nosotras podremos we will be able to
vosotros / vosotras podréis you (plural, informal) will be able to
ellos / ellas / ustedes podrán they / you (plural, formal) will be able to
.
Poder :: Can, to be able to :: Conditional
yo podría I could
podrías you (singular, informal) could
él / ella / usted podría he / she / it / you (s., f.) could
nosotros / nosotras podríamos we could
vosotros / vosotras podríais you (plural, informal) could
ellos / ellas / ustedes podrían they / you (plural, formal) could

Learning the irregular Spanish verb poder

To learn the irregular Spanish verb poder faster, let’s compare it with the regular verb ‘vender’ which we’ve seen throughout my Basic Guide to Regular Spanish Verbs in this blog.

We’re going to see that, although poder is an irregular verb, many of its forms and endings follow the regular verb patterns.

Comparing vender & the irregular Spanish verb poder: present
Present Present
puedo vendo
puedes vendes
puede vende
podemos vendemos
podéis vendéis
pueden venden

The irregular Spanish verb poder in the present tense has these two features:

  • All six present tense forms of the irregular Spanish verb poder have endings identical to those of regular ‘er’ verbs.
  • Its root changes from ‘pod’ to ‘pued’ in four of the six persons.

In other words, the Spanish verb poder in the present tense is irregular in the first, second, third and sixth persons, but not in the forth and fifth persons.

Comparing vender & the irregular verb poder: present perfect
Present perfect Present perfect
he podido he vendido
has podido has vendido
ha podido ha vendido
hemos podido hemos vendido
habéis podido habéis vendido
han podido han vendido

If you compare poder with the regular verb vender in the present perfect tense, you’ll see that the six ‘poder’ forms in this tense follow the regular pattern.

Comparing vender & the irregular verb poder: imperfect
Imperfect Imperfect
podía vendía
podías vendías
podía vendía
podíamos vendíamos
podíais vendíais
podían vendían

As we’ve seen throughout this blog, there are only three Spanish verbs with an irregular imperfect tense: ‘ser’, ‘ver’ and ‘ir’.

The six imperfect tense forms of the verb poder are regular. This means that:

  • Its root (‘pod’) doesn’t change in any of the six persons
  • Its endings are those of the regular ‘er’ verb pattern
Comparing vender & the irregular Spanish verb poder: preterite
Preterite Preterite
pude vendí
pudiste vendiste
pudo vend
pudimos vendimos
pudisteis vendisteis
pudieron vendieron

The irregular Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense has two main features:

  • Its root changes from pod to pud in the six persons
  • The first & third persons have endings different from those in the ‘er’ pattern

The preterite of the irregular Spanish verb poder is a tense you’ll need to watch out for.

Comparing vender & poder: future & conditional
Future Future
pod venderé
podrás venderás
pod venderá
podremos venderemos
podréis venderéis
podrán venderán
Conditional Conditional
podría vendería
podrías venderías
podría vendería
podríamos venderíamos
podríais venderíais
podrían venderían

Both the future and conditional tenses of the irregular Spanish verb poder have three main features:

  • The root (pod) does not change in any of the persons
  • All twelve forms have lost the ‘e’ that regular ‘er’ verbs have in their endings
  • Except for the ‘e’, the remaining letters in the regular endings appear in the poder forms

Comparing regular and irregular verb forms is a great way of mastering the most difficult Spanish verbs quickly. I’d encourage you to do it whenever you come across a new irregular verb.

You can learn and practice the irregular Spanish verb poder, and many others, with this highly recommended Spanish verb course with audio.

For more tips on how to learn the irregular Spanish verbs fast and easily, have a look at my user-friendly guide How to Learn Spanish.

It’s your turn

Can you build a sentence using the irregular Spanish verb poder in any one of those tenses? Type it in the comment box below!

verbarrator banner with free demo button Ideal Guide to Irregular Spanish Verbs. Poder (Can), Part 1

.
share save 171 16 Ideal Guide to Irregular Spanish Verbs. Poder (Can), Part 1

Leave a comment

Spanish Bites is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Spanish Bites is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.de/Amazon.fr/Amazon.it/Amazon.es

Spanish Bites is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca