Poder – Can, to be able

Poder - can, to be able
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Capable Spanish Verb

Poder is a stem-changing verb.

yo puedo    nosotros  podemos
puedes vosotros podéis
él, ella, Ud. puede ellos, ellas, Uds. pueden

In the present tense, poder usually means "can, to be able":

Por ejemplo …

No puedo ir a la fiesta.   I can’t go to the party.
¿Puedes ayudarnos?   Can you help us?

In other tenses and moods, poder is a little more complicated.

Poder in the past

In the pretérito, poder expresses that you were able to do something at a specific point in the past.

Pudo ver por la primera vez.   He could see for the first time.
No pudimos ayudar el hombre.   We couldn’t help the man.

In the imperfecto, poder indicates that you were able to do something over a period of time.

Podía ver todo que estaba pasando.   He could see everything that was happening.
No podíamos dormir.   We couldn’t sleep.

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Poder - can, to be able