The conjugation of poder is highly irregular. It is a -o- verb, since the -o- in the stem is often changed to -u- or -ue-, and the ending may also undergo change. There are no other verbs that follow the same pattern like this one.

The poder conjugations include the indicative mood (present, past, conditional, and future), the subjunctive mood (present and past), the imperative mood, and other verb forms.

As one of the most commonly used verbs in Spanish, poder means “to be able”. In its conjugated forms, it is frequently translated as “could.” But partly because the use of English “could” refers to the past, present, or future, and partially because the preterite and conditional tenses of power are often interchangeable, the use of poder isn’t always straightforward.

Power, like its English counterparts “can” and “could,” also functions as an auxiliary verb, although in Spain, it is preceded by an infinitive. There are a few exceptions, most of which do not have an English counterpart, but they cannot stand alone.

It must be borne in mind that the poder is irregular. The -o- in the stem is substituted with -u- or -ue- during stress, and the ending is shortened in the future or conditional tenses.

Poder Conjugation
Poder Conjugation

Here are a few ways that power can be used:

  • In the Present Tense To Mean ‘Can’ or ‘May’
  • If Used in the Imperative or Preterit To Mean ‘Could’ or ‘Was Able’
  • in order to make polite requests
  • in order to express possibilities or suggestions
  • that could have occurred but did not
  • Poder as a Noun
  • Poder Standing Alone as a Verb

Conjugation Of Poder Verb (Present, Past, Preterite, Subjunctive & Future Tense) In Spanish

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Present Indicative

With respect to the present indicative tense, stem changes from o to ue occur in all the conjugations except Nosotros and vosotros.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) puedo

Example In Spanish: Yo puedo hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: I can speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) puedes

Example In Spanish: Tú puedes bailar bien.

Translation In English: You can dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) puede

Example In Spanish: Ella puede hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She can do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) podemos

Example In Spanish: Nosotros podemos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: We can run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) podéis

Example In Spanish: Vosotros podéis ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: You can go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) pueden

Example In Spanish: Ellos pueden tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: They can play an instrument.

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Preterite Indicative

When it comes to the past tense in Spanish, there are two forms: the preterite and the imperfect. The preterite describes completed actions in the past. The meaning of some verbs is slightly different depending on whether they are conjugated in the preterite or the imperfect.

While using poder in the preterite tense, it indicates that the action has been accomplished successfully, while in the imperfect tense, it implies that the subject had the ability to perform the action, but that it is not clear whether it has been accomplished or not.

Because of this reason, the poder in the preterite must be translated as “was able to.” Also, notice that the stem changes from o to u for this irregular conjugation of the preterite.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) pude

Example In Spanish: Yo pude hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: I was able to speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) pudiste

Example In Spanish: Tú pudiste bailar bien.

Translation In English: You were able to dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) pudo

Example In Spanish: Ella pudo hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She was able to do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) pudimos

Example In Spanish: Nosotros pudimos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: We were able to run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) pudisteis

Example In Spanish: Vosotros pudisteis ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: You were able to go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) pudieron

Example In Spanish: Ellos pudieron tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: They were able to play an instrument.

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Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Imperfect Indicative

In the imperfect tense, repeated or ongoing actions in the past are described. If poder in the imperfect tense is used, this implies that someone had the ability to do something, but that it does not indicate whether they did it or not. Therefore, poder in the imperfect can be more or less translated as “can” or “used to be able to.”

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) podía

Example In Spanish: Yo podía hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: I could speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) podías

Example In Spanish: Tú podías bailar bien.

Translation In English: You could dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) podía

Example In Spanish: Ella podía hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She could do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) podíamos

Example In Spanish: Nosotros podíamos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: We could run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) podíais

Example In Spanish: Vosotros podíais ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: You could go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) podían

Example In Spanish: Ellos podían tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: They could play an instrument.

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Future Indicative

The future tense is normally conjugated by starting with the infinitive form, but notice that the poder is irregular, since it uses the stem podr- rather than the stem podr-.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) podré

Example In Spanish: Yo podré hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: I will be able to speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) podrás

Example In Spanish: Tú podrás bailar bien.

Translation In English: You will be able to dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) podrá

Example In Spanish: Ella podrá hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She will be able to do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) podremos

Example In Spanish: Nosotros podremos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: We will be able to run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) podréis

Example In Spanish: Vosotros podréis ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: You will be able to go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) podrán

Example In Spanish: Ellos podrán tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: They will be able to play an instrument.

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Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Periphrastic Future Indicative

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) voy a poder

Example In Spanish: Yo voy a poder hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: I am going to be able to speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) vas a poder

Example In Spanish: Tú vas a poder bailar bien.

Translation In English: You are going to be able to dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) va a poder

Example In Spanish: Ella va a poder hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She is going to be able to do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) vamos a poder

Example In Spanish: Nosotros vamos a poder correr una maratón.

Translation In English: We are going to be able to run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) vais a poder

Example In Spanish: Vosotros vais a poder ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: You are going to be able to go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) van a poder

Example In Spanish: Ellos van a poder tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: They are going to be able to play an instrument.

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Present Progressive/Gerund Form

The progressive tenses use estar in conjunction with the gerund, may. You’ll notice that the stem changes from o to u in the gerund. Although the auxiliary verb poder can be used in the progressive form, it is not really used in the progressive form in English, which may cause the translation to sound a bit awkward.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Present\ Progressive\ of\ Poder:-}}\) está pudiendo

Example In Spanish: Ella está pudiendo hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She is being able to do an excellent job.

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Past Participle

The perfect tenses are made by using the appropriate form of haber and the past participle, podido.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Present\ Perfect\ of\ Poder:-}}\) ha podido

Example In Spanish: Ella ha podido hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: She has been able to do an excellent job.

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Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Conditional Indicative

It is similar to the future tense that the conditional tense is usually conjugated by beginning with the infinitive form, but in the case of poder, the stem is actually podr-.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Yo:-}}\) podría

Example In Spanish: Yo podría hablar dos idiomas si viviera en otro país.

Translation In English: I would be able to speak two languages if I lived in another country.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) podrías

Example In Spanish: Tú podrías bailar bien si practicaras más.

Translation In English: You would be able to dance well if you practiced more.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted/él/ella:-}}\) podría

Example In Spanish: Ella podría hacer un excelente trabajo, pero es muy perezosa.

Translation In English: She would be able to do an excellent job, but she is very lazy.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) podríamos

Example In Spanish: Nosotros podríamos correr una maratón si entrenáramos suficiente.

Translation In English: We would be able to run a marathon if we trained enough.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) podríais

Example In Spanish: Vosotros podríais ir a la fiesta si te dieran permiso.

Translation In English: You would be able to go to the party if you got permission.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) podrían

Example In Spanish: Ellos podrían tocar un instrumento si tomaran clases.

Translation In English: They would be able to play an instrument if they took lessons.

Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Present Subjunctive

The present subjunctive has the stem change or to be in all of the conjugations except for Nosotros and vosotros, just as it does in the present indicative.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ yo :-}}\) pueda

Example In Spanish: Mamá espera que yo pueda hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: Mom hopes that I can speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ tú :-}}\) puedas

Example In Spanish: El instructor espera que tú puedas bailar bien.

Translation In English: The instructor hopes that you can dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ usted/él/ella :-}}\) pueda

Example In Spanish: El jefe espera que ella pueda hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: The boss hopes that she can do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ nosotros:-}}\) podamos

Example In Spanish: El entrenador espera que nosotros podamos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: The trainer hopes that we can run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ vosotros:-}}\) podáis

Example In Spanish: Patricia espera que vosotros podáis ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: Patricia hopes that you can go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) puedan

Example In Spanish: Su padre espera que ustedes puedan tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: Your father hopes that you can play an instrument.

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Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Imperfect Subjunctive

There are two options for conjugating the imperfect subjunctive, and in both cases, the stem is changed from o to u.

Type: 1

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ yo :-}}\) pudiera

Example In Spanish: Mamá esperaba que yo pudiera hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: Mom hoped that I could speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ tú :-}}\) pudieras

Example In Spanish: El instructor esperaba que tú pudieras bailar bien.

Translation In English: The instructor hoped that you could dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ usted/él/ella :-}}\) pudiera

Example In Spanish: El jefe esperaba que ella pudiera hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: The boss hoped that she could do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ nosotros:-}}\) pudiéramos

Example In Spanish: El entrenador esperaba que nosotros pudiéramos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: The trainer hoped that we could run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ vosotros:-}}\) pudierais

Example In Spanish: Patricia esperaba que vosotros pudierais ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: Patricia hoped that you could go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) pudieran

Example In Spanish: Su padre esperaba que ustedes pudieran tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: Your father hoped that you could play an instrument.

Type: 2

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ yo :-}}\) pudiese

Example In Spanish: Mamá esperaba que yo pudiese hablar dos idiomas.

Translation In English: Mom hoped that I could speak two languages.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ tú :-}}\) pudieses

Example In Spanish: El instructor esperaba que tú pudieses bailar bien.

Translation In English: The instructor hoped that you could dance well.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ usted/él/ella :-}}\) pudiese

Example In Spanish: El jefe esperaba que ella pudiese hacer un excelente trabajo.

Translation In English: The boss hoped that she could do an excellent job.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ nosotros:-}}\) pudiésemos

Example In Spanish: El entrenador esperaba que nosotros pudiésemos correr una maratón.

Translation In English: The trainer hoped that we could run a marathon.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ vosotros:-}}\) pudieseis

Example In Spanish: Patricia esperaba que vosotros pudieseis ir a la fiesta.

Translation In English: Patricia hoped that you could go to the party.

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Que\ ustedes/ellos/ellas:-}}\) pudiesen

Example In Spanish: Su padre esperaba que ustedes pudiesen tocar un instrumento.

Translation In English: Your father hoped that you could play an instrument.

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Conjugation of Spanish verb Poder in Imperative

It is in the imperative mood that orders or commands are given. Moreover, it is not common to give someone the command “to be able to do something.” Therefore, the imperative forms of poder sound awkward, especially in the negative form.

Positive Commands

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) puede

Example In Spanish: ¡Puede bailar bien!

Translation In English: Be able to dance well!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted:-}}\) pueda

Example In Spanish: ¡Pueda hacer un excelente trabajo!

Translation In English: Be able to do an excellent job!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) podamos

Example In Spanish: ¡Podamos correr una maratón!

Translation In English: Let’s be able to run a marathon!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) poded

Example In Spanish: ¡Poded ir a la fiesta!

Translation In English: Be able to go to the party!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes:-}}\) puedan

Example In Spanish: ¡Puedan tocar un instrumento!

Translation In English: Be able to play an instrument!

Negative Commands

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Tú:-}}\) no puedas

Example In Spanish: ¡No puedas bailar bien!

Translation In English: Don’t be able to dance well!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Usted:-}}\) no pueda

Example In Spanish: ¡No pueda hacer un excelente trabajo!

Translation In English: Don’t be able to do an excellent job!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Nosotros:-}}\) no podamos

Example In Spanish: ¡No podamos correr una maratón!

Translation In English: Let’s not be able to run a marathon!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Vosotros:-}}\) no podáis

Example In Spanish: ¡No podáis ir a la fiesta!

Translation In English: Don’t be able to go to the party!

\(\mathbf{\color{red}{Ustedes:-}}\) no puedan

Example In Spanish: ¡No puedan tocar un instrumento!

Translation In English: Don’t be able to play an instrument!

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Important Points To Remember

  • Although the verb poder can be used alone, it is more commonly used as an auxiliary verb, meaning “can” or “can be able to.”
  • When used as an auxiliary verb, poder is followed by an infinitive.
  • You can use the infinitive form, poder, as a noun to refer to poder or authority.
  • Poder is an auxiliary verb that is frequently used as an equivalent of “can” or “to be able to.”
  • Poder is prominently featured in the famous phrase “Sí se puede” which can be loosely translated as “Yes, we can,” or
  • somewhat literally as “It certainly can be.”

FAQs

What are the 5 conjugations of the verb poder?

Poder in its most common tenses (puedo, pude, podía, podré, pueda, pudiera, podría, and he podido).

Is poder an irregular verb?

Poder is an irregular -ER verb, and one of the ten most important verbs in Spanish. It has a few little quirky conjugations – like most of the most important verbs.

How do you use the poder in the past?

Example sentences using poder in the past include Yo no pude llegar a tiempo. I couldn’t leave on time.

Is Pongo stem-changing?

Say “yo pongo” to mean “I put.” For the first-person present tense form of the verb poner, you drop the -er ending and add a “g” to the end of the verb stem. This is the only present tense form of poner that is irregular. Use regular conjugation rules in the present tense.

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