1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "¿Podría comer?"

"¿Podría comer?"

Translation:Could I eat?

July 10, 2017



Why a new tense and no teaching? I still don't get or like this....so this isn't a full teaching course but a side thing I guess....


Would you be able to eat? Why is that incorrect?


Since there is no other context for the sentence, I think "could you [formal "you"] eat?" is correct.


No context is necessary

Can eat = am able to eat (present)

Could eat = would be able to eat (past or conditional) Please report it as also correct.




That answer was accepted today--1/26/2020


The most correct translation of the Spanish word "poder" is the English verb phrase "to be able to." The reason why is because "to can" is unacceptable English, while the literal translation of "puede" can be either "can," "may," or "is able to". The other reason why "to be able to" is the best translation of "poder" is because both start with the word "to."

Because <<¿(Yo) podría comer?> = "Could I eat?," in my opinion it doesn't equal "Would I eat?" I may be wrong, so I await a native Spanish speaker who can explain why.


In English, “Could I eat?” equals “Would I be able to eat?” In Spanish “podría” can be translated for use with I, he, she, it and you (usted).


I would say "could I eat" SOMETIMES equals "Would I be able to eat." It can also be a polite way of asking "can I eat" or "may I eat" I think that is actually the most likely meaning of the English, and the use of Podría in Spanish can be used as a polite request as well.


“May I eat” is the polite version. “Could” is simply the past form or conditional form of “can” which is equal to “would I be able to eat”

“Could I eat?” As a polite form has the hidden condition of “if you let me” “Would I be able to eat?” could also be used that way, but it is simply less commonly used.


Although we were taught to use may instead of can or could in school to ask for permission, at least in the United States, can and could are now used much more than may or might for polite requests.

I don't know what Duo's policy is in this case. I would guess they opt more for "common usage" vs. "strict grammatical correctness"but I'm not sure.


Would like to know for sure if "may I eat" is a valid translation. More discussions welcomed.


https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/could https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/would

"would" does not equal "could", but you could use “would be able to” for “could.

They are also used for different situations.


you are correct "can or could" is often misused in English speaking America to ask permission. "could or can" is "Conditional" or dependent on the "ability" of the one asking. "Are you able?" can or could I swim... conditional on the ability. In grade school when we asked "Can I go to the restroom? We would get the response, "Are you able?" "May" is the proper way to ask permission.


Actually, using "can" when asking for permission is perfectly good English. "Can" is merely less formal (used among friends and in informal situations or informal writing). "May" is reserved for formal situations. When asking for permission the only difference between the two is informal vs formal. This must be one of the most prevalent myths and confusions about English grammar out there. Don't worry, I was also somewhat shocked when I realized English teachers often get this one wrong! That said, I would say that "may" should be used when speaking to a teacher as a sign of respect. Speaking to a teacher is usually a formal occasion! But don't take my word for it. Consult any reputable English grammar and it will tell you the same thing. My go-to explanation is the very clear and definitive entry from the Oxford English Dictionary's grammar blog, an impeccable source: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/can-or-may


Well even nother shows up as informal for another if you Google it, so I guess I can be grammatically correct on a whole nother level now. Instead of people learning the language, the language evolves to the people. Just because it's grammatically correct now doesn't mean it was then. Maybe in a few more years it will be archaic to use may to ask for permission.

I also entertained the thought of writing "Would I be able to eat?" But decided to go with the more literal translation. I'd be curious if it's accepted if anyone knows.


I agree with "smilinsteve7256". Why is there no info/explanation/conjugation for this lesson? I came to the discussion forum in hopes of discovering info about this lesson. HELP! I'm drowning in something called V.Modal 0/2! LOL


People write what they have learned, arl19622. The discussions themselves supply the explanations.


Type in, perhaps, "would" and "could" in Spanish.


What's the difference between "podía comer?" and "podría comer?"


Podía comer = I was able to eat (yesterday, earlier in the day, and so on)

Podría comer = I would be able to eat (now or in the future)


¿Podria comer? as I question in Spanish is more likely to be a polite way of asking whether it would be OK to eat. Similar to in English we might say, when visiting a friends house. I'm hungry. Could I eat something? The isn't the same at at as "I would be able to eat." It is more similar to asking "may I eat"


You are comparing a question with a statement. “Would I be able to eat something?” would also be a polite request. Neither is as polite as “May I eat?”


What's the difference between "podía comer?" and "podría comer?"

I was answering the persons question which was about the two questions in Spanish, although the upside down question marks should have been used.


“Would I be able to eat?” = “Could I eat?” just as “I am able to...” = “I can...”


Thanks, Eliza.


¿Podría comer? Conditional tense.
¿Podía comer? Imperfect tense


Why wouldn't "Could he eat?" be acceptable. Podría es used for 1st and 3rd person, is it not?


"Could he eat" Conditional
"MIght he eat" Also, conditional

Both should be correct for "podria", which is conditional.

<pre>https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/grammar_moods.html </pre>


Yes, if it wasn’t accepted as correct, please report it.


Could I eat? Not sure why I'm getting it wrong. It even says that's the answer.


If enough people report that their answer should be accepted, DL will eventually accept it as long as those people are correct.


More information please, did you have the multiple choice? Translate from Spanish to English? Listen to Spanish and write it down in Spanish?

In the multiple choice there can be more than one correct answer and all correct answers must be chosen. If you really had the correct answer and it was not because there was also another correct answer that you should also have put, then report it and put a screenshot in your report for better results.


I've thoroughly enjoyed Duoling up to this point. But this section - sorry to say - seems a complete mess. I just can't figure it out. I'm hoping a lesson in the future will compensate.

  • 1358

One of the things that could help is to go to a site where you can see the conjugations of poder and other verbs for this tense (conditional). I use spanishdict because I can't remember what is where in the Duo site.

The other thing that's in the v.modal section is exercises in the difference between conditional and the imperfect subjunctive.

I sympathize with the frustration with Duo - it can be very difficult to learn if you don't have a framework in the language. Still, it is very helpful if you can find ways to compensate.


How would one translate shall I eat?


"Shall" is used to create a future tense in English. So you don't translate word for word, you use the Spanish Future tense. https://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/shall%20I%20eat


"Shall" is also an old-fashioned imperative.
"You shall do your chores, or I will paddle your behind."

"You shall go to church and repent, or you will end up in Hell.!


I put :-Were you able to eat?---Duo said I was wrong, giving -Are you able to eat? which is surely ¿puede comer?-----Please comment


Please report it. “Could you eat?” is conditional and not necessarily past, but “Could” is rather timeless.


I put "I could eat" and counted wrong. My answer could be "¿I could eat?". Duo doesn't require punctuation for a correct grade.


Because Duo doesn’t look at punctuation, Duo does expect inverted word order for a question to know that you knew that it was a question. “Could I eat?” is the correct answer. The regular sentence order type question in English is a different question actually. It is usually a repetition of someone else’s words asking whether I understood you correctly. The Spanish tend to omit the subject, so you cannot tell if this was originally inverted word order or sentence word order, but in Spanish they are both general questions, unlike in English.


that is stating "Am I able to eat". It should state "May I eat?", asking permission to eat.


Not true—"can", although informally, also means to be permitted or enabled to: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/can#English


Puede = can = am able to

Podría = could = would be able to

(As past tense, “could” could not be translated to “can” or “ am able to). However this question is not asked for something that you have already been able to do, so it is actually conditional with the understood if clause (if you let me). Conditional is timeless, so “can” could be used as well as “am able to”

“May” is timeless and can be used also.


I put "Were you able to eat?" and it was marked wrong. It seems similar to "Could you...". Their suggestion was: "Are you able to eat?". Interesting how their suggested answer was structured in the present tense.


"Were you able to eat?" should have been he suggest answer, frank479.


"Could" is special in that if you are asking permission, then it is not used in the past tense. "could" along with some other modal verbs (should, would) are actually rather timeless and can be used in past, present or future. Your version is one possible meaning for "could", but keep in mind that "podría" is not a past form here. It is a conditional form. Your answer should also be accepted as correct, since past is also possible. Please report it as also correct.


"Were you able" is past tense or imperfect, a form of past) ( It is not conditional. "Would, could, should" are conditional.



Would , could, should are conditional forms, but I understand the confusion some people are having, because these same forms are also the past forms of can, will and shall. The conditional is much more likely to be the case for this question, however the past is not necessarily wrong.

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