Common Spanish Verbs: Poder
One verb that should become part of your vocabulary very quickly is poder. Poder is the Spanish verb that means to be able to. This might not sound like the typical Spanish verb to you and you'd be right. It's not easy to image poder like is to run, to eat, to write. Some verbs are very visual and can be imagined easily. Poder is not one of these. It actually falls into the category with other vague verbs such as to have, to be, to know, etc. Another way to look at is is that poder is the verb that means to can, such as I can, she can, you can.
You may have heard the phrase Si, se puede, which comes from the verb poder. Essentially this phrase means Yes, you can or You can do it! It's common in Spanish to have someone say this as a form of encouragement. Here is a breakdown of how the verb is conjugated and it's translations into English:
Yo puedo - I can
Tú puedes - You can (informal)
Él puede - He can
Ella puede - She can
Usted puede - You can (formal)
Nosotros podemos - We can
Vosotros podéis - You guys can (informal)
Ellos pueden - They can (group of men or mixed)
Ellas pueden - They can (group of women)
Ustedes pueden - You all can (formal)
When the verb poder is used, it is typically followed by another verb. This is because we normally say You can [verb], like in You can run, You can eat, You can write. So in Spanish, you'll want to follow the conjugated form of poder with an unconjugated verb. To see what I'm saying, here are some examples of sentences using the verb poder:
Usted puede hablar. = You can speak.
Nosotros podemos tocar la música. = We can play music.
Yo puedo cantar. = I can sing.
Vosotros podeís estudiar. = You guys can study.
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