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  5. "Él había demostrado que pued…

"Él había demostrado que puede hablar."

Translation:He had demonstrated that he can talk.

February 17, 2013



Shouldn't it be "He had demonstrated that he COULD talk?"


In English grammar, yes. We would say "He had demonstrated that he could" or "He HAS demonstrated that he can". This sentence is a mishmash.


I'm not much of a grammarian, but his ability to talk in the past doesn't guarantee he can talk now. I know we're just supposed to translate, but this sentence makes my head spin a little.


Yes to several of you. This sentence is wrong in Spanish and the translation is wrong in English. has with can, had with could, in both languages.


The comment by BarbaraMorris below seems useful. It seems to me that "had" with "could" indicates that, at that moment he could speak (but possibly not before nor after), whereas "had" with "can" implies an ongoing state of him being able to talk.



Perhaps, but "had" with "can" makes no logical sense. How could one demonstrate in the past an ability that he possesses now? At best, he could demonstrate the ability at that point, which is no guarantee that he has retained it.

The other way around is still logical: "I have demonstrated that I could juggle." I can't juggle any more, but I may have just shown a 15-year-old video that proves it.


Here are two links indicating that this sentence is perfectly fine as long as the meaning/context is as you describe.




So the proper Spanish would be "Él había demostrado que pudo hablar" then?


Es muy comun en los hispanos decir: El había demostrado que puede hablar.


Exactly, you're right


I always get it wrong too. "Can" just doesn't sound right.


Agreed. Even if it were about the present, the past tense of the auxiliary "had" determines the tense for the whole sentence, so then it should be "could". To refer to the present, it would be "He has demonstrated that he can ..." where the demonstration is still in the past, but making it relative to the present, not to another past.


As a native spanish speaker, I have to say that his sentence is grammatically wrong in Spanish too. It should be "El había demostrado que PODÍA hablar".


puede is present tense so no, it is can, not could. Hope that helps


This sentence threw me. I wanted to write the clause after 'that' in the conditional tense.


I think conditional is only used when the verb before "that" is something like "wish" that suggests that the part following the "that" might not happen. In this case, the verb is "demonstrated" which means what follows the "that" is true.

I was going to say that I think using present tense is wrong, but then I re-read what I quoted a while ago (see my comment starting "I was thinking the same thing"). So, based on that, "He demonstrated that he can talk" means that he can still talk, while "He demonstrated that he could talk" means that he could talk in the past, but it doesn't say anything about whether he can talk now. <<gasp>>


I still think it is poorly worded. We would say, "In the past he has demonstrated that he can talk."


agree - in a sentence like:"Even before he was elected he had proved he can talk - and now we all know it well."


I was thinking the same thing, and I tried to find a reference for a rule that says the part following "that" has to be in the past if the part before "that" is in the past.

But I was remembering the reported-speech rule. Tom said "I can talk". Tom said that he could talk.

In our sentence, the part starting with "that" is a noun clause, and it doesn't have the same "one tense back" rule that reported speech has.

I found this discussion: http://bogglesworldesl.com/askthomas_noun_clause1.htm

Here's a quote from that discussion:

>Now here's where it starts to get tricky to teach. How does a student know what tense to put the verb in the noun clause. Here's what I mean:

>At yesterday's meeting, the teachers all agreed that teaching noun clauses is/was a difficult problem.

>I don't know about you but I have to think twice about which verb to choose. In most cases, any tense of the verb in the noun clause is grammatically acceptable, but it often changes the meaning in ways that are too subtle to teach to your students.

>The teachers agreed that teaching noun clauses is difficult implies that in general noun clauses are difficult to teach.

>The teachers agreed that teaching noun clauses was difficult implies that it was a difficult at that particular time when they taught it.


This is all very interesting and way beyond my grammatical abilities. I'm still puzzled, though.


I was thinking this too. The confusion has since cast into doubt an entire English grammatical construct for me. Oh the linguistic anxiety!


I agree with you, Bonnie!


Yeah...what you said....


that is what I wrote


I agree, he may be dead for years now.


why is "proven" marked wrong? Have I been using a false past participle my whole life?


Duo might be being overly picky and interpreting "proven" strictly as an adjective and "proved" strictly as a verb even though both can be used as verbs.


The rule about using only "proved" for the past participle is so rare in American English, I assumed Duo would mark that as incorrect. I was surprised to see it refuse "proven" instead. Reported it as well.


Most likely nobody has reported to Duolingo that "He had proven that he could talk" is a reasonable translation of this sentence.

To me, "prove" seems like a different word from "demonstrate".


Isn't "he had proven" better than "he had proved"?


My understanding is that they are both equally correct, but that people in different countries/regions prefer one or the other. To me (central Canada), "proven" sounds a bit more natural.

This site http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/68380/is-proven-very-old-fashioned quotes the OED as saying the original past participle was "proved", but "proven" was later introduced by analogy with words like "cloven".


I figured both were acceptable. Duo still doesn't accept proven, and insists on proved.


29.02.16 still not accepted. Reporting it


It still doesn't accept "proven," as of January 3rd, 2017.


the confusion of the present puede with the past "could" (which is correct) happens bc the tense of the ability is in relation to the "habia" "had" which casts the whole sentence into the past, which the English expresses with "could" and the Spanish, evidently with "puede", but the tense of the ability to speak is Past.


"He had shown that he can speak" was also marked as correct.


He had shown that he is able to speak; was NOT accepted. Es tonto.


When in doubt "Call a Spaniard!!!"


Please fix it. 22 comments should be enough. It seems that, not only is this not the way to speak English, it's not correct in Spanish either. Thanks


agree that it should be "he had demonstrated that he could talk". We are dealing with the past.


Lost my last heart because I said COULD not CAN. What nonsense!


Everybody used to say that Harpo couldn´t talk; but he could....


How about he had proven that he could talk. Duo said proven waa wrong but proved would have been correct. In english isnt proven correct?


Is this a child speaking initial sentences, or someone demonstating that he can make a presentation to a group?


Is this a child speaking initial sentences, or someone demonstating that he can make a presentation to a group?


I think we just have to accept that Duolingo can be very weird. I think they pick random sentences out of newspaper reports etc and sometimes they simply don't work.


I just commented on an earlier sentence where talk was not accepted for hablar. It was speak. Now talk is accepted a few questions later. I'm doing the test out.


what's the difference between pudo and podia? thanks;-)

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