The "puedo" is not needed here, or rather you don't need to translate the "can't" into Spanish. It literally translates as "I am not finding my Spanish book" and so it's self-explanatory that you "can't" find it. It's the same as when you say "I can't/don't see any books on the table" - "no veo ningún libro en la mesa". "yo no nado "-" I can't /don't swim" etc.
Thanks, Emma. You seem to be correct, but Duo sometimes requires poder with some verbs, even when physical ability isn't an issue. Are there some verbs that need poder when "can" or "can't" would be appropriate in English but physical ability isn't involved?
Hope this question makes sense--it's a little bit difficult to formulate!
Most verbs do that. Outside of questions (where English loves using additional modal verbs when it comes to requests or suggestions), the only group of verbs that comes to mind that doesn't use poder when English normally uses "can" are verbs of perception - ver, oír, encontrar, comprender, etc. Verbs of perception describe actions of one or more senses with the goal of receiving a specific piece of information about the outside world. (That is, if my definition game is up to par. :´)
Other verbs behave just like in English:
- Yo bailo. - I am dancing. | Yo puedo bailar. - I can dance.
- ¿No nadas? - Won't you swim? | ¿No puedes nadar? - Can't you swim?
- ¿Lees esa frase? - Are you reading that sentence? | ¿Puedes leer esa frase? - Can you read that sentence?
- No veo la tele. - I don't/can't see the TV.
- ¿Entiendes a Wally? - Do/can you find Waldo?
- Simplemente no lo entiendes. - You just can't/don't understand.
If you have more questions or want to challenge my definition, you're welcome to respond. Verbs of perception are a tough group to stake off.
I struggle to recognize encuentro as a verb of perception in "Yo no encuentro mi libro de español!" Maybe the exclamation mark adds the 'unable (can't) perception'? Or a vocal emphasis. It's seems odd to equate don't with can't which have distinct meanings in English. Thanks nonetheless for your input, RyagonIV
Ryagon, I have no wish to challenge your definition or your analysis! Actually, I think you're spot on.
We have become familiar with requests (non-polite, as you call them) that use only the main verb. Now, it seems that statements (not requests/suggestions) using verbs-of-perception are simply another group that does not require poder. Just something more to become accustomed to. Thanks!
(Now, to somehow internalize this--unfortunately, when trying to speak Spanish, I rarely stop to analyze whether I'm using a verb-of-perception!)
"I'm not finding my Spanish book" was accepted 4 August 2020. "I can't find my Spanish book" was given as an alternative translation. "I'm not finding my book" is easily understood by a native English speaker, but "I can't find" has pretty much the same meaning and is more common. "I do not find" is also easily understood by a native English speaker, but there is no "I do" (yo hago) in the Spanish sentence. The way I see it, "I'm not finding" is the literal translation, "I can't find" is a more colloquial translation, and "I do not find" is not colloquial English and incorrect because, unlike "I'm not finding" it is not a literal translation of the Spanish.
It's understandable, though. "I didn't find" is a much likelier statement than "I don't find". In the former case, you finished looking so you can make a statement like that about the result of the entire process. In the latter, the process of looking is still ongoing, so making such an encompassing statement is a bit odd.
In both cases the construction "no encuentro" was used. In the first case my answer, "I can't find," was rejected. In the second case, I chose my answer, "I didn't find" because of my experience with the first case, but THAT answer was rejected this time. This, to me, is not just an issue of consistency from exercise to exercise. It seems to me that Duolingo is just flat out wrong in some circumstances. If "I can't find" something, then the construction, "no puedo encontrar" should be used.
Okay, if both sentences were in present tense in Spanish, it's a bit odd to accept a past-tense translation. That shouldn't be the case.
But "I can't find" as a translation for "no encuentro" is pretty fine. English prefers to use "can" with verbs of perception when asking whether your perception is successful, or in negative statement when your perception is unsuccessful. Spanish is fine with the main verb on its own.
- ¿Ves la pantalla? - Can you see the screen?
- ¡No te oigo! - I can't hear you!
- ¿No encuentras el libro? - Can't you find the book?
Thanks, RyagonIV, for sticking with me on this. I know you are not responsible for my complaints about Duolingo or the Spanish language.
But how am I, or anyone for that matter, supposed to know what you mean when you say "no encuentro?" If it can mean "I can't find" or "I didn't find" then Duolingo should accept both answers in both of the examples I cited above. Instead, it accepts only one of the two possible answers, and it goes a different way for each exercise. I have enough trouble with the inconsistencies within the language itself, without Duolingo adding its own inconsistencies.
If I say "No encuentro [algo]", it means "I can't find [something]". I'm still searching or have just ended the search.
"I didn't find [something]" would imply that the search has ended a while ago, right? You don't expect to find the object anymore. That would likewise use the preterite tense in Spanish: "No encontré [algo]."
English prefers using "can" with verbs of perception - especially in questions and negative statements. Spanish is fine with just the full verb.
- No te oí. - I couldn't hear you.
- ¿Ves aquel hombre? - Can you see that man?
- No encuentro mis calcetines. - I cannot find my socks.
A few exercises back I got dinged for saying "diccionario italiano" for "Italian dictionary" rather than "diccionario de italiano". So I tried "book about Spanish" for "libro de español" as this translation and was dinged again. So how do I know if we are talking about where the book was made verses what it is about?
Jerry, a "libro italiano" is a book that's from Italy and/or written in Italian. A "libro de italiano" is a book that has the Italian language as its topic.
English doesn't make a difference between those types because it's not a real language. It's both just "Italian book".