"Si yo pudiera comer pescado."

Translation:If I could eat fish.

March 20, 2013



Am I the only one who thinks that this is not a complete sentence?

March 20, 2013


It's not a complete sentence. It's a fragment. There are quite a few fragments on Duolingo, actually.

May 2, 2013


People frequently speak in fragments, especially when answering a question. The rest of the sentence is implied.

For example, "I bet you're hoping Tommy asks you to dance tonight!" The response: "If I didn't have two left feet!" The "I bet you're hoping...." is an indirect question. The response omits the "Yes, I would hope that..." before the "...if I didn't have two left feet." but it is understood to be part of the sentence. "Yes!" has no subject or verb, is certainly a fragment, but IS a sentence and would never appear with end punctuation.

Determining if something is a question is easier in speech, when you have inflection to guide you. It is much more difficult in written communication, in Spanish or English. One clue In written Spanish is the presence or absence of accents on some words. In written statements, you'll find que, donde, and other words, without accents. If the writer intends to present an indirect question, you can find accented versions of those words with a period at the end of the sentence, even when there is no question mark.

An example: "Quisiera saber dónde puedo encontrar algún programa para convertir archivos de MP3." "I would like to know where I can find a program for converting MP3 files."

If you come across a direct or indirect question, it will often be followed by a sentence fragment as you're expected to assume it's an answer and the rest of the context is in the question.

It would be nice if DL gave us enough surrounding material to figure out these truncated sentences. Hope that helped?

January 2, 2016


Hey NEGenge, what's the difference between "Querría saber..." and "Quisiera saber"?

March 1, 2016


"Queria saber" is "I wanted to know". "Quisiera saber" is "I wish I knew!"

May 29, 2016


There are three verbs in Spanish - querer, gustar and poder that use the preterite subjunctive to indicate a polite request: I would like? Could you?

January 5, 2018


Conditional vs preterito de subjuntivo, this is what you want to dinstinguish between? Starting and ending a concept....quisiera saber, pero no podria (start with past subjunctive, end with conditional)

July 15, 2017


This was a great example, thank you. Very clear. Although my question is where is the ONLY implied. I have never seen a sentence in English or Spanish that implied ONLY. At least not to my recollection!

November 23, 2018


The rest of the sentence would be something like "...I would eat it all the time."

June 6, 2013


Right. In Spanish, in the construction “if x, then y”, x takes the subjunctive (because you don't know if x is true), and y takes the conditional (because y would be true if condition x were satisfied).

June 6, 2013


You both are very right. There are basically two "if... then..." construction in Spanish, a realistic one and a hypothetical one.

Realistic if

You use this one for realistic possibilities

construction: Si + present, (then) present/future

example: si mi madre cocina repollo, comeré en un restaurante

(If my mother cooks cabbage, I will eat in a restaurant)

Hypothetical if

You use this one for non realistic constructions

construction: si + (subjuntivo imperfecto), condicional

example: si yo fuera el presidente, sería muy famoso

(if I were the president, I'd be very famous)

June 7, 2013


So this hypothetical "if .... then... " construct has to take the PAST (imperfect) subjunctive then? It makes more sense to use the present subjunctive ("si yo pueda comer pescado") but if its a fixed construction, then so be it (more subj. lol), I guess....

March 5, 2016


Yes, there are many subtle variations depending on the circumstances.

In English, "were" is the subjective version of "was", for example: "If I were rich..." - "Si (yo) fuera rico..." Imperfect Subjunctive ("fuera")- when talking conditionally in the present or future if the condition is improbable, impossible, or hypothetical.

"If the store is open,..." - "Si la tienda está abierta,..." Simple Present ("está") if the condition is probable or it would not be surprising to be true - present or future.

Here's a great explanation about the English subjunctive. http://grammarist.com/grammar/subjunctive-mood/

If we had been talking conditionally about the past, for example: "If I had been rich..." - "Si (yo) hubiera sido rico..." Past Perfect Subjunctive ("hubiera sido") - when talking conditionally in the past

Here's a great explanation of the use of conditional and subjunctive in a conditional context in Spanish. There are more uses of conditional than I thought. http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/condic.htm

Are there other options which you know that people use in actual practice? Perhaps simpler? Thanks.

March 6, 2016


It's a bit like the English language: "If (only) I were able to eat fish". "were" is also sort of past tense that is used for hypothetical situations.

March 5, 2016


How did you make the bold and large letters?

August 15, 2017


Well that depends, you can also have it with the present tense and the future, just as in English. "If it rains, we will stay at home" (si llueve, nos quedaremos en casa). Equally "if it were raining, we would stay at home" (si lloviera, nos quedaríamos en casa). "were" is the subjective imperfect in English (though "was" is replacing it these days). So actually the subjunctive in the past is pretty easy – if you know how to speak 'posh' then you know it already :P

Basically: If + present + then + future = possibility Or: If + imperfect subjective + then + condition = impossibility.

June 6, 2013


Nice explanation.

June 6, 2013


So this "if .... then... " construct has to take the PAST (imperfect) subjunctive then? It makes more sense to use the present subjunctive, but if its a fixed construction, then so be it (more subj. lol), I guess....

March 5, 2016


I found this complete and concise description of the various constructs of "If...then...". It explains which mood and tense to use in differing situations of possibility, hypotheticality, past/present/future timing for both the "if" clause and the "then" clause


For me, it was eye-opening and ah-ha filled. Explained the nuances which caused me to be confused just when I thought I understood it.

March 5, 2016


It is a complete sentence, there is nothing structurally lacking.

December 20, 2016


No, the"If" , or "only if" makes it a subordinate clause needing to be completed by a main clause.

However, note my comment below, that this "fragment" construction is not uncommon.

February 7, 2019


"If I could eat fish..." is incomplete. "If only I could eat fish" is complete - "If only" is a way of saying "I wish".

June 15, 2017


but the spanish doesn't look like a complete sentence.

April 15, 2018


The English is a statement of regret. Statements of requre require the subjunctive. The Spanish is in the subjunctive, thus you know it meets one of the conditions for a subjunctive (regret, doubt, hesitation, etc.)

February 7, 2019


This seems to me like an exclamation within the context of a larger conversation:

  • Waiter: We have a nice fish special tonight.

  • Customer who is allergic to fish: "If only I could eat fish!" or "I wish I could eat fish! "

April 22, 2018


Nah, y'know: Like, "Oh, I'm hungry! If only I had a hamburger."

May 29, 2016


You're about right (about thinking it's a sentence fragment). I almost wrote it without the "only". Without the "only", it is a sentence fragment (incomplete sentence, a subordinate clause without a main clause) and has no meaning.. However, the "only" changes it to a kind of sentence.

The "only" makes it an "exclamatory sentence", aka "minor sentence." Despite beginning with a "subordinating conjunction" (if), as an "exclamatory sentence" it still conveys meaning. (It also might be considered an "elliptical sentence." )

Other examples include: "What the heck!" "Good job" "hello" "Me, not you." "(Anyone) hungry?" "Hungry, anyone?"


Also see NRGenge above.

March 2, 2017


It isn't. Please ask them to remove the period.

June 1, 2013


This is perhaps better written as "If only I could each fish....." It's not uncommon to express a regret in this way.

This notion of regret makes the Spanish be subjunctive.

(Notice my subjunctive here.)

February 7, 2019


no you are not

April 24, 2013


Where is the only represented in this phrase?

May 7, 2016


I agree!! And I see no discussion of that here. I was not marked wrong, yet still want to understand.

June 6, 2016


It's an indirect translation. Literally, it's "If I were able to eat fish," "If only I could eat fish" is a phrase with a similar meaning in English.

February 26, 2017


Si can mean "if only." "Only" may also be implied by the imperfect subjunctive. It's used for things that you wish could happen but are either impossible or extremely difficult.

May 6, 2018


"If I could eat fish" is also correct and accepted. "if only..." is a just a more idiomatic way of saying it.

March 3, 2019


if you click 'conjugate' on 'pudiera', pudiera is not shown in the list at all. where does 'pudiera' come from?!!

April 26, 2013


You're right, it's not there (it should be. "pudiera" is the imperfect subjunctive. You make it by taking the past tense (preterite) of 3rd person plural ("ellos pudieron"), taking away the "on", and adding the inflections: "-a/-as/-a/-amos/-ais/-an").

See: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100058/imperfect-subjunctive#.UYYST0rtrtw

May 5, 2013


You have to click the "subjunctive" tab.

September 21, 2016



September 22, 2017


where does the only come from. This seems like a lesson in idioms rather than learning a verb form

August 10, 2016


Hi Duolingo ! any reason that those verbs like "pudiera" and "podria" do not appear in the verb conjugation table ? I think it would help alot

February 4, 2016


Both pudiera and podría are in the tables for poder; you just need to make those tables visible. Pudiera is in the Subjunctive table (past tense), you need to select the Subjunctive mood (by default the Indicative mood is displayed). Podría is in the Indicative table (conditional tense), you need to click on "Show more tenses →".

August 26, 2017


Said Gollum while he was in Mordor

November 2, 2016



May 3, 2017


Where is the 'only' in this phrase?

December 5, 2016


According to Google, one of the meanings of "si": Introduce oraciones exclamativas en las que se expresa un deseo de algo que se considera poco probable o imposible. "¡si me llamara, aunque solo fuera una vez!; ¡si fuera un poquito más alto!"

The second example given here "¡si fuera un poquito más alto!" is very similar to "Si yo pudiera comer pescado." Thus, after reading this definition and its examples, I am convinced that this sentence isn't lacking anything. The "si" is sufficient, there is no need for "only", but I guess that there could be "only" if you wanted to.

December 21, 2016


This is from Wordreference:

si (enfatiza la expresión de un deseo = to emphasize a wish) = if only

¡Si Dios escucha mis súplicas, se disiparán mis temores!

May 6, 2018


As far as I noticed, it IS a complete sentence. Isn't "si pudiera" used as "if ONLY I could"?

November 1, 2016


They suggested to me "If only I could eat fish". Where's the "only" come from? I didnt see "solo" in the spanish translation.

January 2, 2017


It's an idiom you just have to remember.

However: I really do have issues with Duo's translation of Spanish subjunctive into English conditional, rather than English subjunctive, especially when English subjunctive is actually a lot more clear, accurate, and closer in meaning to the Spanish. If you translate the sentence using English subjunctive, you get: "If I were able to eat fish", which is an expression of wish or desire, plus the current inability to do so.

While "only" still in not part of the sentence, the context of an unfulfilled wish makes the overall quality - the ambiance - of the sentence one of unmet longing. Perhaps if the sentence were preceded by an exclamation, it would be more clear:

¡Qué vida más triste! ¡Si yo pudiera comer pescado!
"What a sad life! If were able to eat fish [life would be happy again]!" = "If only I were able to eat fish!"

When preceded by the exclamation, then even using "could" brings the sentence much closer to the Spanish intent.

February 26, 2017


If I could eat fish I would still choose not to, because our oceans are suffering with overfishing and: fish are friends, not food!

September 4, 2017


I don't have a problem with fragments, but they should leave periods off when the "sentence" is a fragment.

May 14, 2013


They should. Someone should suggest that to them.

May 16, 2013

  • 1063

"Yes, i could eat fish" is marked wrong. Evidently "si" ="if"

January 9, 2016


sí = yes, si = if (pay attention to the accents :)

March 5, 2016


I hate the font Duo has chosen. The accents are really hard to see. Half the time, I am using Crtl+ or Ctrl- to zoom in and out just to read the accents

February 26, 2017


I agree, especially the i, which is difficult to distinguish between a dot and an accent. I did ask at one time if they could make the accents a bit larger to enable everyone to notice it better.

February 26, 2017


I very much agree. The text needs to be in bold, bigger and always black. I use three different platforms, and the only one where I can distinguish an i from an í, and then with difficulty, is using a 20 inch monitor.

March 23, 2019


If i could eat fish... i would not own them as pets.

February 5, 2016


Is pudiera here in subjunctive? I am so confused by this type of speaking

May 28, 2016


imperfect subjunctive.

September 21, 2016


If only i could eat fish is different to if i could eat fish... Only defines the "want" to eat the fish...

November 20, 2016


Where is only

January 26, 2017


The sense of the sentence does not require 'solo' in Spanish, but it does in English.

October 26, 2017


I fail to see the word "only" in the Spanish version...

April 17, 2017


It is not necessary to include 'solo' in Spanish, but it is in Englis.

October 26, 2017


I get the " If I could eat fish" part, where does the only come from?

April 28, 2017


which word means " only" here?!!

May 19, 2017


Allergies, allergies, allergies.

May 29, 2017


pudiera ser asi : if I could eat fish ?

August 12, 2017


I don't get where the word 'only' comes from. I thought 'pudiera' means 'could', thus I translate this sentence as 'If I could eat fish'. Please could someone explain, thank you.

September 1, 2017


It's a bit like the 1st conditional and 2nd conditional in English (this example being the 2nd).

1st conditional: If I pass my exams, I'm going to University (probable, expected)

2nd conditional: If I won the lottery, I would go on a cruise (highly improbable, bordering on impossible)

In Spanish, you use the past tense of the subjunctive for the 2nd type of conditional ("pudiera"), and the simple present tense for the first type ("puedo"). Because we see "pudiera" in this sentence, we know its the 2nd, highly improbable type... so some people prefer to include the word "only" in English to stress the highly improbable, bordering on impossible, nature of the conditional. HTH

September 1, 2017


Did it count your's right?

September 1, 2017


Why not "yes I could eat fish"?

December 19, 2017


You need to pay attention to the accents:

sí (accented) => yes
si (unaccented) => if

December 19, 2017


is 'if I could have eaten fish' incorrect?

July 14, 2016


That means "si hubiera podido comer pescado". It's more like a regret

July 28, 2017


I have looked up the verb "Poder" and cannot find the conjugation "Pudiera". Could somebody help me with this please? gracias.

July 21, 2016


http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/poder Look under the Subjective section, under Imperfect, yo or él/ella/Ud

July 21, 2016


Gracias por su auyudas

July 21, 2016


RobertTempest, your link made the difference for me. I had looked through all the conjugations Duolingo offered and found no reference to 'pudiera.' You have a Lingot with my complements. Spend it wisely and in a way that gives you pleasure.

September 29, 2016


You gave your lingot to the wrong person !

March 23, 2019


Hi Julia, That is what I would like to know too. It must be meaning and not direct translation. This last part of the tree is challenging.

August 13, 2016


Porque no acepta con... to eat fish?

September 3, 2016


Porque can/could es un verbo modal, que no utiliza el "to" antes del infinitivo. Otros ejemplos incluyen will/would, shall/should, do/did y may/might/must.

Haz clic aquí para aprender más. Saludos.

September 9, 2016


oh cierto :D gracias

September 13, 2016


I'm happy to help.

September 14, 2016


Esta mal el duolingo. Lo correcto es : si solo pudiera comer pescado. Pero omiten la palabra "sólo" only".

November 8, 2016


Would that not mean, 'If I could only eat fish', rather than, 'If only I could eat fish'? The two sentences have completely different meanings.

October 26, 2017


I have an allergy to fish so I will definitely use this one a few times.

November 9, 2016


Can you say "if i olnly could eat fish? (Spanish is my native lenguaje, i'm here to learn more inglish...

December 31, 2016


Yes, "If I only could eat fish" is a valid alternative.

January 1, 2017


Yes, but "if only I could eat fish" is more clear in meaning. It expresses a wish which absolutely cannot be fulfilled, for an unknown reason (allegery, being in the desert, etc.). There is no time reference - it can mean I want to, but cannot eat fish right now (in the desert) - or for the rest of my life (allergy).

"If I only could eat fish" is somewhat ambiguous. It may mean what is stated in the above paragraph - or it could mean a desire to eat fish and nothing else but fish. A diet exclusively of fish. ("If I could eat only fish" or "If I could eat fish only").

The much, much better choice is "If only I could eat fish".

February 26, 2017


My suggestion - If I was able to eat fish - was rejected. But 'if I were able .. ' is accepted. Surely the first is also correct

January 10, 2017


"If I was able to eat fish" is not correct in formal English (to mean unable), but I guess many people use it to mean "If I were able".

February 10, 2017


there should be solo after si

January 11, 2017


The 'solo' is understood in Spanish, whereas it must be included in English to achieve the sense of the sentence, and for it to be a complete sentence rather than a fragment.

October 26, 2017


fish and the fish are the same thing especially when I get dinged for including el or not including el or yo or we arbitrarily

March 11, 2017


Does anyone have a link to how they conjugate this unit? Im so confused

March 12, 2017


Yes I could eat fish is what I read, there is no "if" and no "only" in the Spanish sentence...

April 17, 2017


Si (without accent) is 'if'; 'solo' is not required in the Spanish sentence, but it is in English.

October 26, 2017


gout - gota - Gicht :(

May 21, 2017


What confuses me about this is that there is no WEIRDO verb to trigger the past subjunctive, presumably it's implied somehow but I can't see how exactly.

July 5, 2017


Where is the "only" in this sentence?

July 9, 2017


Why is it not, " Yes if only I could eat fish"

August 8, 2017


sí, si yo pudiera comer pescado. (sí with an accent (yes) followed by si without an accent (if))

August 8, 2017


Why is it not a complete sentence ????

August 8, 2017


It's a fragment like the song from "The Wizard of Oz", "If I Only Had A Brain". The rest is implied.

August 8, 2017


Is there a rule about it? Could you explain it to me, please?

November 20, 2017


please what are modal verbs?

January 1, 2018


They can be very complicated to understand. Here is a page on modal verbs in English https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs

January 6, 2018


Is there a reason that, "would that I could eat fish" is incorrect? The two sentences (mine and Duo's given translation) -- in English have same/similar meaning. Slightly confused.

April 4, 2018


Possibly the reason is that no-one speaks like that any more. It's very Jane Austen.

March 23, 2019


No comment

April 9, 2018


The right translation would be... si tan solo yo pudiera comer pescado

April 15, 2018


A more literal translation of this phrase using the English past subjunctive would be... if only I were able to eat fish

July 8, 2018


'were able to' is not more literal than 'could', they are equivalent.

July 8, 2018


Does anyone understand why it is the imperfect subjunctive and not the present subjunctive?

August 9, 2018


"If only I could eat fish" is a good example of a 'wish'. A more complete sentence could be "si yo pudiera comer pescado, yo lo comeria" (conditional).

August 23, 2018


Subjunctive Imperfect- If only I was able to eat fish was marked as wrong, yet it certainly can be translated that way, yet they wanted it exactly as written up above. Get your head out of your ........brrrrr, it just gets frustrating a veces.

September 11, 2018


Subjunctive imperfect can be translated as "If only I were able to eat fish", "If only I was able to eat fish" is wrong.

September 11, 2018


"if i were able to eat fish" is accepted.

October 4, 2018


"If only I was able to eat fish." was not accepted. Why?

November 7, 2018


I said "If I would be able to eat fish." OK, it's not elegant, but I think it should be accepted.

March 2, 2019


Fish are friends; not food.

July 31, 2017


I can't believe someone would down vote a Finding Nemo quote. I was horrified so I up voted you.

December 7, 2017


My answer should have been accepted

October 14, 2017


If you post the answer you gave someone might be able to explain why it was marked wrong.

December 7, 2017


Why do we have to advertise the cruelty of eating other animals on DuoLingo? Soon we have to translate "Smoking is healthy"? Why not make a sentence which is not offending to people who are at peace with the animals?

March 25, 2016


Interesting point to consider. May I offer another in defense of Duolingo and the concept of a bee eating a whale.

I am also at peace with animals and understand that I am food for them and/or the earth. Essentially, we are all food at some point. Perhaps not cruelty so much as the way the world is.

September 29, 2016


Well it's subjunctive so the speaker isn't actually eating fish.

December 20, 2016
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