1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "Si pudiera empezar de nuevo."

"Si pudiera empezar de nuevo."

Translation:If I could start again.

January 5, 2016

58 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/13duolingo

"If I could begin again" should be accepted too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

I've added it to the accepted responses. =)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cavman144

you've added it? how?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

I'm one of the course contributors -- we add the translations to the database.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cavman144

oh, you're a moderator!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pigslew

sainio, if one can insert "only" here - then "just" should also be accepted. Perhaps you can fix that, please? I've reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Yup, "just" can work, depending on the phrasing. "If just I could start again" doesn't make any sense, but "if I could just start again" would be okay (and I'll add it to the accepted translations).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dltk

Why is the imperfect subjunctive used here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

In hypothetical "if-then" statements, the "if" part of the sentence gets the imperfect subjunctive, and the "then" gets the conditional. (In this sentence, there's no "then" clause, so we only have the "if" clause to worry about, and that gets the imperfect subjunctive.)

In case it's any help, I always think of this as the "if I were...." rule. When we talk in hypotheticals in English, the "if" clause gets what USUALLY looks like an ordinary past tense: "if I wanted a blue car, I would have one." But actually, it isn't an ordinary past tense, because when the verb is "to be," the correct form is always "were" (even with subjects that would normally use "was"): "if I were you, I would buy a blue car." So what that verb form actually is is our equivalent of the imperfect subjunctive. (For the longest time, I used to have to remind myself, "if it's an 'if I were...'-type sentence, it gets that weird subjunctive form that I can't conjugate without looking up!" =) )


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dltk

Many thanks, Caitlin! This came up before the actual section on the imperfect subjunctive. If they had worded this as "If only I were able . . ." I might have caught it. Anyway, you have clarified this perfectly for me. Thanks again.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tampanews

This is really helpful. I've been getting very confused with subjunctive vs. conditional. It'd be nice if you'd post what you wrote in a guide. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeiaSala

I often hear "If it could start over" as in "If it could start all over again"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Yup, this is fine, and is one of the accepted translations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pigslew

Pigslew says thanks for your rapid response,sainio.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/liz482957

I don't understand. This is not a complete sentence in English. Is it in Spanish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

It works as a complete thought in Spanish, and we're giving some consideration to the English translation, here. In English (for reasons I can't begin to figure out! =) ), it works as a complete sentence if we insert an "only": "if only I could start again." If we don't, it doesn't.

My suspicion is that it would be better to use "if only" in the primary translation, but since the sentence has to be used in a couple of different ways (and also in the "English for Spanish speakers" tree), I want to think a little about the implications of adding an untranslatable "only."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daphne177862

It's still technically a sentence fragment, even with "only". It's ok on its own (a "complete thought") because we all know it means something like, "If only I could start again, that would be good" or "I wish I could start again".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carmen112559

That phrase in spanish is an incomplete sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hollyxyzzy

I wouldn't add "only", personally. Either way, you have an unstated clause: If I could (only) begin again (I could be happy). Years ago you could have said, " If I could but begin again ", although that is archaic now. I'd just leave it alone if I were you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

You're definitely right about the unstated clause; I just get the sense that the "unstatedness" is more comfortable for English speakers if there's an "only." If I say, "if only I could start again," people nod sympathetically. If I say, "if I could start again," they look up expectantly: if I could start again, then what?

We have a handful of sentences like this, and the primary translations haven't included "only," but they were generating a certain number of confused and/or upset error reports from the English side, because a lot of people thought they felt too incomplete. After some discussion within the team, we're test-running "if only" in the primary translations, and we'll see if people find that easier, or if they just find it confusing in a different way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/liz482957

The other option could be to end it with an ellipsis rather than a period.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

I'm not sure it's possible on Duolingo. The Incubator has to check and approve words and punctuation as we type them in (this is so we don't use words that you haven't been taught or punctuation that the program doesn't know how to handle), and unfortunately, it doesn't seem to recognize ellipses.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zignorp

I found it confusing, wondered where the "only" came from.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SarahSalaz7

The "only" gives it the sense of a wish (As does the older use of "but"). You are stating a condition contrary to fact: " If only I could fly like a bird" It might have an unstatef cause, but it might also be something un-stateable. Much like when I have heard Spanish speakers start with "Ojalá"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeff738240

If you could start fresh


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Also fine; I've added it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Selma-Ibrahim

And it would be wrong if I wrote: si pude, right? Because the subjunctive should be used here (because of the si)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Right, an ordinary past tense doesn't work here because of the "si."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MexicoMadness

"If only I could start over again", is the way I say this, but now I realize the " again" shouldn't be there unless I am starting over a second time, meaning it is my third effort. I guess the "again" provides emphasis even though it is not correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saraths8

If only i could start again..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chloe654blake

'If only i could start from new' not correct ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

If only I could start anew? (from new????!!!) I either "start over" or "begin again".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mprdo

Does accept: "If I could start anew". 3Oct18


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davievetzeke

what tense is this? pudiera


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Past subjunctive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Henry949662

I thought( si )meant (yes) and not (if).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sainio

Nope, this is where the accents become really important. "Sí" with an accent on the "i" means "yes." "Si" without the accent means "if."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antonio2castillo

sainio you´re wright.....sí (afirma YES ) and si (condicional...if). saludos


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adriano732737

...and as you know, it is "right" not "wright"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anthony774428

"If only I could begin anew" should probably be added :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZorroZ7

Si pudiera can translate to: if I could, if he could, if she could, and if you (usted) could. (In English you might add 'only' to have this phrase make sense.) That's why it is important to state who you are talking about if not already obvious.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Texlrnr

That is why all those answers should be accepted. I used "usted" and it was marked in error - stating it should be "she"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

"Did you report it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mpaulson44

How is "if only I could have begun again" different. How would you say that in Spanish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

"If only I could begin again" is a wish for the future, "if only I could have begun again" is a complaint about the past. https://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/%C3%AFf%20only%20I%20could%20have%20begun%20again


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/norma0044

how long have most of you been learning Spanish. I'm starting to feel really inadequate!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leon_MM

"If only I was able to begin again." I'm not sure why this isn't accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

"could" is a timeless modal that can be used for past, present and future. Some dictionaries list it as the form it was originally formed from which is the past of "can", but it has far exceeded that use and is used in conditional and subjunctive forms now. This is a subjunctive form, a wish for the future, so the past would not work here. The Spanish is more specific and it is not a past version here. So although "could" can possibly mean "was able to", "pudiera" is a subjunctive preterito imperfecto. I wonder if they would allow "If only I were able to begin again" ? http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-spanish-verb-poder.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KarlSruhe2

"if i could commence anew" was marked incorrect. Is it though?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Try reporting it, though it is a bit formal for a wish, don't you think?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jason997955

Although people frequently state this as a complete thought in day-to-day speech, it is not technically a complete English sentence in standard grammar. It needs a main clause; for example, "If only I could start again, I would."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Yes, Duolingo often uses phrases as well as sentences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hjh788272

… which would be fine provided they did not finish with a full stop (period for our US friends, I think).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/8YzEh3Ry

Si, si pudiera empezar de nuevo.

Yes, if I could start over / begin again.

What's the word for "yes"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

This is where the accent becomes important.

Yes = sí (with the accent)

if = si


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RuthannPi

What I imagined when I read the Spanish sentence is a speaker who started a talk, was interrupted, and dealt with the interruption. I can just hear such a speaker then say: "If I could begin again..." and launch off into his/her talk. I expect I HAVE heard such a thing in a class at some time.

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.
Get started