"A putea bea cafea"

Translation:To be able to drink coffee

November 24, 2016

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Cymelo
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Is it possible to say "A putea a bea cafea" since both "putea" and "bea" are infinitives? And if not, when is the "a" used before an infinitive and when it is not used?

November 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Caesar_Imperator

„A putea a bea cafea” does not work. Difficult to say why, but it's probably because in a normal sentence where you use the indicative form of the verb „a putea” it is almost always followed by the conjunctive form. Examples (with other verbs as well):

(Eu) pot să te ajut dacă vrei. - I can help you if you want.

N-ai voie să te ridici! - You are not allowed to stand up!

Trebuie să-ți faci treaba! - You must/you have to do your job!

Am nevoie să știu/Trebuie să știu! (same meaning) - I must know!

M-am dus să vorbesc cu profesorul. - I went to speak with the teacher/professor.

These verbs and others are almost always followed by a verb in the conjunctive. The infinitive form could also be used (only for some of these verbs!), but it usually sounds strange/poetic. I would avoid it.

November 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Cymelo
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So "A putea bea cafea" sounds actually archaic? Would the more common form be "A putea să beau/bei/bea (etc...) cafea"? or even "să pot să beau cafea"?

November 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Caesar_Imperator

Yes, the infinitive isn't used all that much nowadays. Depending on the context, „să pot să beau cafea” seems like the best choice.

Mi-aș dori să pot să beau cafea. - I would like to be able to drink coffee (a better translation: I wish I were able to drink coffee).

Even inversions are possible:

Să pot să mănânc carne ar fi minunat! Din păcate nu am voie. - Being able to eat meat would be wonderful! I am not allowed to, though. (because you are suffering from a disease, for instance).

As a rule of thumb: If you are unsure between the infinitive and the conjunctive, just use the conjunctive. Chances are you right.

November 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Cymelo
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thanks!

November 24, 2016
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