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  5. "I might have done it."

"I might have done it."

Translation:Yo lo hubiera hecho.

May 2, 2018



I can't understand how hubiera is "might".....


I might have done it

is kinda like:

I would have done it.

To me, "might" seems closer to "maybe" so I agree with you that it is really confusing


"Might" and "would" are very much different.

"Might" is much closer to "could".


I agree.
So, I tried "Yo lo podría haber hecho."

And Duo said NO!

Can anyone tell whether my answer is nonsensical or okay?


In general usage that would work. Podría translates better to could though. In many circumstances there isn't much of a difference between might and could. So if you look up might in a dictionary you will find podría. There is no other good single word for it. But in the present perfect I see a distinct difference between could have and might have. I could have done it implies that you had the ability, but you didn't do it. I might have done can be used similarly, but it could also mean It might be that I did it. In other words, you aren't sure whether you did it. This is the might that Duo was trying to use, but as always, without context they can't insure that users will interpret the sentence the same way. But the reason they wanted that meaning, is that the whole function of might in that sentence is to introduce doubt as to what happened. That translates well to the Spanish subjunctive. Much of the use of the subjunctive is required or triggered by something in the sentence. But a Spanish speaker can add a similar element of doubt to any sentence that would normally be in the indicative mood in the subjunctive. When I first did this sentence I amazingly did get it correct, but I starred at it for several minutes before trying a solution. I think it's an important thing to teach, but the problem is, even after they know the answer, many users can't understand it. Most people aren't grammar nerds like me. Duo really needs to adopt clues in parentheses to provide enough information for the user to understand what they are being taught or tested on.


I agree. Could have and might have seem interchangeable.


Could and might do have overlap in the present tense. But in the perfect they are definitely different. When you say I could have done it you are saying that you had the ability to do it. You often also have a condition under which the conditional would be true, up to and including that perhaps you weren't even there to do it. But definitely the conditional perfect means that you did not do it. But might have definitely assumes that you had both the means and opportunity to do it, but you don't know whether you did or not.

Being too quick to report things like this as Duo's "errors" is counter-productive, since the whole point of this exercise which is to demonstrate how the Spanish subjunctive can be used for no other purpose but to introduce doubt even where that doubt it not obvious in any other way. That is exactly what might have does. And while I agree that Duo could have used this construction a couple of times to better "teach" it, ultimately I do spend time trying to figure out what Duo is trying to communicate and I generally can, although it can take work. But because I am aware of both the daunting task of teaching all the subtleties of language and of the limitations of their platform, I would rather learn than simply be right.


I had exactly the same problem, reported.


Accepted 05/16/2020


I TOTALLY disagree with "might" and "would" being very different. I think the difference is very subtle, especially when DL is translating.

Heck, I'm still asking my native-Spanish-speaking friends to tell me the difference between aqui and ahi and nobody knows. DL has a definite opinion. Things are not always clear.


I do think might and would have a distinct difference in meaning. If asked a question such as "Did you drink my wine?" "I might have" means it could have been you or somebody else but either you don't know or won't say. "I would have" means that you may have intended to, but somebody else had beaten you to it and you definitely didn't drink it.


I really think the issue here is because we don't use the subjunctive nearly as frequently in English that there really no good way of expressing this sentence in English. The present subjunctive most often has somewhat of a future meaning. There is some doubt as to whether what someone wanted, felt was important, requested etc of someone else is actually going to happen, although the time frame may be vague. But the past subjunctive generally talks about something that didn't happen or a contrary to fact statement. So I think that what this sentence conveys in Spanish is that you DID NOT do it, but there was doubt at that time whether you would or would not do it. That explains the use of the subjunctive without anything that explicitly requires it. The subjunctive was not required here, but it was used specifically to add that element of doubt back into the picture in the past. Might is the only way we have to express that. Could would express that you had the ability and perhaps the will, but might adds other elements of the circumstances that may have been out of your control. I don't know if might has the exact impact as the past subjunctive here, but I can't see a better choice.


I would have answered "Quisas!" Or.. "Es posible!'.


Obviously there are a lot of ways one could have responded, but you totally bypassed the issue at hand. The voluntary use of the subjunctive in Spanish introduces doubt without any other indication that it is only a possibility like the words you used. We have no equivalent in English, but this sentence is the closest.


See lynettemcwPlus


You forgot aca


Aqui is here and ahí is there?


'Would' implies volition; 'could' implies possibility; 'might' implies lesser possibility, eg 'I might have robbed the bank... but that's for me to know and you to find out', or an unfulfilled condition, eg 'Napoleon might have won the Battle of Waterloo' - but we know he didn't.

Informative use of 'could' and 'would' in the S&G song El Condor Pasa: "...I'd (would) rather be a hammer than a nail. Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would".


The DUO English is correct.

"Hubiera" is imperfect subjunctive.

See these articles on the English subjunctive mood.

They explain that English uses "might" in relation to the English subjunctive. https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/grammar_moods.html



That is true. But the issue here is with the Spanish subjunctive. The issue is what English expression would be the most comparable English form that would be a good translation of the optional use of the perfect subjective. We don't use the subjunctive like this, so it would not be the subjunctive. But, as I have stated before, might is the best choice in English that I can think of to demonstrate the concept of the effect on meaning of using the subjunctive when it is not required grammatically. If you can think of a better one, definitely suggest it. I just think trying to understand what Duo is trying to demonstrate is more important than just being right. None of the changes suggested generated the sentence that Duo wanted you to come up with.


I was answering the person who wanted to know where the "might" came from.

You said "perfect subjective." Did you mean "imperfect subjunctive?"

We use the subjunctive for pretty much the same reasons as does Spanish. That is: "1) express a wish; 2) begin with if and express a condition that does not exist (is contrary to fact); 3) begin with as if and as though when such clauses describe a speculation or condition contrary to fact; and 4) begin with that and express a demand, requirement, request, or suggestion. "


This sentence in English would probably be considered conditional perfect. We don't have an imperfect tense. You are correct that we use the subjunctive pretty much the same, but we certainly don't use it as frequently. We do say I wish you were, which is clearly subjunctive, but we say I hope you are. The latter would be subjunctive in Spanish but is indicative in English. This sentence is not grammatically subjunctive in English, although some Linguists do speak of a subjunctive mood in English without traditional grammatical markers.

In Spanish this sentence is in the past perfect subjective. The imperfect subjunctive is equivalent to the English past subjunctive in that the past subjunctive uses one of two imperfect forms. The preterite is no longer used in the past subjunctive (I think I heard it once was) but you do see it in the past progressive subjunctive. I think I just said perfect subjective because both the English and Spanish are in a perfect tense, but you are correct, I should have been more specific.

I am including a link to the Oxford English Dictionary sites discussion of the English subjunctive and its grammatical markers since many users aren't really familiar with it.



hmm. No could is i might have done it but didn't. Might is maybe I did and maybe I didn't.. Clear as mud?


Well could have is what you define as could. Could have assumed that you didn't, but could itself does not. Could is conditional meaning there is always some set of conditions, either stated or implied, that would cause could to actually happen, even if it's something as basic as "if I wanted to". Might is subjunctive. The essential element in the subjunctive is doubt. You can add a word or phrase like maybe to indicate that you don't know what the truth is, and that leaves the sentence as indicative. You are indicating that you don't know. But might doesn't indicate anything about whether it is true. It's whole purpose is to introduce doubt. That the subjunctive.


I don't think it is without "quizas" or "tal vez" or something; I think this exercise is wrong, and I reported it as such. See http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/293299/hubierahabria-preferido


No, you are actually wrong. Spanish does have set things that trigger the REQUIREMENT of the subjunctive. But a Spanish speaker can simply change the indicative to the subjunctive to introduce doubt. The indicative is used for known things. So you would say Lo hice or No lo hice. Those are statements assumed to be facts. But if you didn't know whether you did it (did you lock the door? ) then you can't use the indicative. You might phrase using some automatic subjunctive trigger, but just introducing the subjunctive where you would expect the indicative introduces that doubt.


No. See my comment below and above.


"might" = indicates a conditional or a subjunctive. "Hubiera" is a subjunctive of "haber.

Thus, "I might have.." = "hubiera."




hubiera is imperfect subjunctive not conditional


Thank you. I wasn't thinking,
I corrected it.


So, a good way of looking at it is understanding that the subjunctive can be introduced with a maybe. For instance with this sentence, "quizá lo hubiera hecho" or "maybe I'd have done it."

However, in all languages, we like finding shortcuts to saying things and cutting what we deem unnecessary. So, in the context of a conversation, simply stating with an unsure tone "lo hubiera hecho" is all that's necessary. Why even add the "quizá" if you can support the same idea with tone or additional context?


Actually, if you say Quizás, you don't necessarily need the subjunctive. In Spanish, as opposed to some other Romance languages, talking about what you think or believe, or SAYING maybe can make your statement indicative. If you say Quizás or tal vez, but you actually don't think it is very likely to be true, THEN you use the subjunctive. Since you are saying maybe, it means that you don't know. You are indicating what you believe to be true. But if you don't really think it is likely, the subjunctive is like a little disclaimer. The use of the subjunctive here is somewhat different. Without the subjunctive in the Spanish sentence, it would be considered a statement of fact which is always indicative. But simply making it subjunctive puts it in doubt.

This link covers quizás and the subjunctive.


You aren't going to find much discussion of this use of the subjunctive because it is not really a grammar rule, it's more of a communication technique. Some people will use this technique and others not.


I checked and hubiera is would have. So the sentance is wrong.


"Lo hubiera hecho" should be accepted. I can omit the "yo"


ummm interesting point, personally as the sentence is alone and without context, I would suggest the "yo" is needed, but i guess it depends on how you look at it


It is without context here but in real life you would have context


That would be context dependent. If you were fessing up to a direct question like "Did you do it?", then you would not need the "yo".


Paul, I think you're right, but duo has not usually required pronouns in these type sentences, even when there is ambiguity without them.


Por supuesto, yo lo acabo de reportar 18/07/18


I agree. It seems the last few lessons I've done have a lot of these kinds of "errors" in them.

This isn't usually the case so maybe they need to do some fine tuning on some recently added material.

[deactivated user]

    I think so too, provided that there is context, when it comes to subjunctive, conditional and past subjunctive, the yo form is the same as the él/ella/usted form too so sometimes things can get a little unclear if you constantly omit them.


    "yo podría haberlo hecho" es la solución correcta. Si yo lo hubiera hecho sería if i had done it Si no hay condicional no es correcto decir "yo lo hubiera hecho" sino "yo lo habría hecho" I would have done it. "yo lo hubiera hecho" no me parece correcto, debería decirse yo lo habría hecho y en este caso es yo podría haberlo hecho.


    Después de escribir mi comentario encuentro el tuyo. Gracias por escribirlo, puesto que con él se aclaran mis dudas.

    Estoy de acuerdo con " Habría hecho " en vez de " Hubiera hecho "



    I do not understand this phrase, in my opinion " Yo lo hubiera hecho " would be "I would have done it", while the phrase proposed by Duolingo " I Might have done it" would be " Yo podría haberlo hecho ***". I'm right?


    Try the these sentences in English. Each has a different meaning, just as they do in Spanish: I might have done it [but I won't admit it];
    I could have done it [I had the ability but I didn't have the chance];
    I would have done it [but something interrupted me].


    Those were good examples, but each of those has other options as well. I might have done it, I don't remember, I might have done it, if something had been different. I could have does share some meanings, if not quite the same tone. Javier is actually correct in that would as an auxiliary can be the appropriate translation for the past subjunctive. It is more commonly used for the conditional as it is generally paired with a subjunctive clause which contains the condition that makes the statement true. Spanish has no really parallel to our auxiliary might. But when might expresses the possibility in terms of might be, it can be expressed with puede que which does take the subjunctive automatically. But this might is just introducing doubt into the sentence. That is the only real "meaning" it has as we have no idea whether or why. Spanish does that by using the subjunctive when it is not required. I, too, was a little surprised by this exercise. But having looked at it carefully, it seems to make sense.


    Would an alternative translation be puede que lo haya hecho?


    you are right. o podría haberlo hecho


    Gracias. Toma unos "lingots" por tu ayuda.


    tried this translation was not accepted by duo


    It seems that "Quizás lo hiciera" should work also. Comments?


    Actually that is somewhat brilliant, although I don't think that it is what Duo is looking for. By starting with Quizás, you have created a situation that requires the subjunctive which is what Duo wants you to practice. And it is a great translation which demonstrates Quizás as a subjunctive trigger. I don't think Quizás is practiced enough on Duo. But I think Duo would have phrased that English sentence as Maybe I did it or Perhaps I did it.

    I think what Duo is trying to illustrate, although somewhat ineffectually, is that the Spanish subjunctive mood can also be used to introduce doubt into a sentence which does not actually require the subjunctive. In English we add might to add doubt about what did or will happen. It's probably a better convention for demonstrating this then say the used to convention for the imperfect, but it hasn't been established as a convention yet so it isn't understood as such.


    That's what I thought, but still not accepted Feb 2019. Reporting it.


    Hubiese es correcto también


    Should "Quiza yo lo hubiera hecho" be incorrect?


    Yes but only because there is no "quiza" in the sentence.


    Both Google Translate AND SpanishDict agree with " podria haberlo hecho". I don't get DL's version?????


    Agreed! I reported it.


    So... ignoring what DL wants for the moment, could 'Quizás lo he hecho' be right or is a subjunctive essential? I'm assuming here that I did do it and I'm being shifty, or at least that it was done and I'm not quite sure if I'm responsible. (I see WimXL asked the same last week - sorry, these discussions don't always load immediately...)


    Admit you're guilty, we all know you did it. Hee hee


    I agree. Why not 'quizás lo he hecho'?


    I tried, "yo quizá lo hice" and that was marked wrong. Why?


    There is a syntactic problem with your sentence. Quizá/s should come first. It is not always easy for students to recognize this because they are much more likely to include the subject pronoun. A native speaker would almost always omit the yo and just say Quizá lo hice. They really would only include yo if the point was that it could have you instead of whomever was being discussed. And in that case they would perhaps more likely say Quizá lo hice yo, or more likely Quizá lo hiciera yo.

    The latter is the other point. We say might when there is substantial doubt. In Spanish quizá/s can be followed by either the subjunctive or the indicative, but if you want to introduce any doubt, it should be subjunctive. The indicative indicates that it is more probable. But the actual point Duo was attempting to make, however ineffectually, is that there is no Spanish word that really translates as might. In Spanish changing the verb from the indicative to the subjunctive does the same thing as we do by adding might. No maybe or perhaps is necessary in either language.


    I'm still not sure how this sentence contains "might", but for anyone seeking clarity on where to use "habría/hubiera" I found this link very helpful:



    hubiera means would have. Might have in english means the open possibility, where as "would" implies a little more certainty or fated intention. It would seem to me the spanish-english doesn't transliterate well at all, or else the duolingo programmers don't know what they're talking about at all.


    The difference between "might" and "would" is probability. "I would" means that if it is possible for you to do a thing the odds that you will are high RELATIVE to the circumstance where you MIGHT do a thing which logicaly is a much lesser probability. I say based on the above that they are very different.


    Why not "podria haberlo hecho"? reported.


    That's exactly the translation given by www.spanishdict.com. But DL marks it wrong!


    There are two problems with that. The first is that your sentence translates as I could have done it, which is different from I might have done it. Second I am pretty sure that you can't attach the objects to an infinitive in the middle of a verb phrase. It has to be a final infinitive.

    Might is a word we use to introduce doubt into a sentence. Spanish uses the subjunctive more than English in a rule driven way, but they also can use the subjunctive when it is not required to insert doubt into a sentence in the same way we use might.


    Why is, "Podria haberlo hecho" wrong? I'm still confused.


    Two reasons

    1. Your syntax is wrong. The object can't interrupt the verb phrase. It can only attach to an infinitive at the end.

    2. Your sentence is I could have done it. That implies that, although you had the ability to só it, due to some condition not mentioned in this sentence, you DID NOT do it. But saying you might have done it is saying that you don't know WHETHER OR NOT you did it. There is no direct translation for the word might in Spanish, but because they have a more robust subjunctive, simply using the subjunctive when it isn't required by the gramatical rules does exactly the same thing to the meaning as we do by adding might have.


    I disagree. However, I would have put it like this: "Lo podría haber hecho" (also marked as wrong of course...). Like you wrote, there is no word for 'might' in Spanish, but I definitely think 'podría' is more correct in this case than 'hubiera'.


    Hubiera hecho means Have done with doubt added. So how would you translate Yo lo hubiera hecho? That's what you have to think about, because that's what Duo is trying to teach.


    It's not wrong, but I would have put it like this: "Lo podría haber hecho", which incidentally was also marked as wrong... Go figure


    If I wanted to say "I might have done it" would saying "Es posible que yo lo haya hecho" get the idea across? I don't understand "hubiera hecho" and I'd rather find an alternative way to say the English idea that is correct in Spanish...AND that I can understand. Thanks!


    The problem is that Duo is actually trying to teach the Spanish sentence in this exercise, not the English one. Duo assumed, probably correctly, that users would be even more stymied trying to translate the Spanish sentence into English. The problem is that very few people learn much about the subjunctive mood in English. But it is a fact, however poorly taught, that might automatically makes a sentence subjunctive in English.

    "May and might” can only state possible action, and “possible action” in grammar is called the “Subjunctive Mood”. Wow. That’ll scare you!"

    That's a quote from an article about the use of may and might, which are sometimes confused. Here is the whole article.


    At issue here is the optional use of the subjunctive (not indicated by other elements in the sentence), to indicate doubt. So might have has to be translated into the perfect subjunctive auxiliary hubiera, which would then be followed by the past participle of the main verb, in this case hecho from hacer. The problem is only that many if not most English speakers do not know this. But the subjunctive in Spanish is both more widely used and better understood by native speakers than the English subjunctive. If an English speaker hopes to understand the Spanish subjunctive, he must learn the differences between the English and the Spanish subjunctive and that may mean really learning the English subjunctive for the first time. I was surprised, for example, that, not only is the Spanish expression for Long live the King in the subjunctive (que viva el rey), the English is as well. So are these other expressions:

    come what may Far be it from me to… God save the Queen! Heaven forbid! Perish the thought! so be it Thy kingdom come, thy will be done... suffice it to say... woe betide...

    All of those are old expressions. Some sound a little old-fashioned, but others are deeply entrenched in our language.

    But to get back to the point, may and might can be considered subjunctive complements which effect the verb or verb phrase that follows, so to translate any sentence with may or might all you have to do is translate that verb into the subjunctive and ignore the might. Consider the following examples. I may go to the store later. Vaya a la tienda más tarde. I thought I might be able to win. Pensé que pudiera ganar. I might have won. Hubiera ganado. This is the only really correct way to translate these sentences, which is why there is no real translation for the word may or might.


    DL gives me "Yo lo habría hecho" as a correct answer. How so? Doesn't that mean "I would have done it," not "I might have done it"?


    Duo must have bowed to some pressure there, and to my mind that was a mistake. The answer that is shown above is the answer that this sentence was originally trying to achieve. That answer is (Yo) lo hubiera hecho. What they were trying to teach here is might as an indication of what you might call the voluntary subjunctive mood, although the voluntary is more about the Spanish. But might and may are words that are inherently subjunctive in English.


    In Spanish we think mostly about the various cases where the subjunctive is required. But the whole concept of the subjunctive is to indicate doubt or uncertainty. Because Spanish has a robust and well used subjunctive mood, by simply using a subjunctive verb, the speaker can indicate that s/he is not certain that what they are saying is true. That is why I call it voluntary, the speaker is adding that element where it isn't required. In English we have only a vestige of the subjunctive left, and it is not a tool we can use like that. We are add might or may. That is not really surprising when you consider that English has only two fully conjugated tenses, present and past. All other tenses require auxiliary verbs. We love them.

    But when this exercise first came out, many people didn't understand, and some really didn't want to. The answer that they gave you was definitely not accepted then. It seems absurd for them to even accept such a translation let alone suggest it. As you said it really isn't the same. I think Duo would do better by deleting the whole exercise if too many don't get it than to accept a wrong answer.


    " Yo " it is not needed for sure

    • 2028

    Quizás lo he hecho ? It is not accepted but doesn't quizás takes care of the "might "?


    If the conjugation is the same for both I and he/she, the pronoun is more important for context.


    Podria haberlo hecho....once again DL disagrees with me. What have I done wrong??


    Another out of context, read our mind piece of wasted effort that does no one any good. Just read the comments to see how Duo sows confusion. A lot and I mean a big lot, of the exercises are so out of context as to be pretty hopeless. It’s like someone with limited English skills is creating exercises and as in the subject sentence above, they have no clue as to the different meanings of the word “might”. In this case might makes wrong.


    I don't see why context is necessary in a sentence such as "I might have done it." The speaker is saying that whether he did or didn't do something is unclear. Whether he is taking about robbing a bank or bringing flowers to his mother makes no difference to the grammar. Duo isn't creating confusion. These sentences are difficult because often there is no one-to-one translation.


    Absolutely correct.


    Could someone explain why "Podría haberlo hecho." is apparently not correct ?


    "Podría haberlo hecho" tendría que aceptarse.


    "lo huberia hecho" was not correct. I thought the "Yo" was optional and could be inferred by the context.


    Use hubiera in the condition ("if") clause; use habría/hubiera in the result clause.


    Podría haberlo hecho


    'Quizas lo hiciese' would be, to my opinion, closer to the meaning of "might have done it". 'yo lo hubiera hecho' would better translate to 'i would have done it'. For instance in "if i knew, i would have done it" would translate to "si lo supiera, lo hubiera hecho". Neither native Spanish nor English speaker so i'd be happy if you could share your views.


    The issue here is that there really isn't a good translation for yo lo hubiera hecho in English. Most would translations use the conditional in Spanish, so I would translate I would have done it as (Yo) lo habría hecho. Since there is only a vestige of the subjunctive in English, you can't simply introduce doubt into a sentence by using the subjunctive when it isn't required. Most people don't recognize it even when it is there. So this is another, very imperfect, tool like using used to for the imperfect. The bottom line is that Spanish verbs convey more information in that one word by its tense, mood and conjugation than English verbs ever do. This is one of the strengths of romance languages. Germanic languages like English, however, have a great advantage in relating nouns to each other. There is often some additional information that must be introduced into the sentence to make up for the lack of inflection in English nouns, but they almost always could actually be translated and added to the sentence as well. It's sometimes hard for Duo to teach these nuances without confusing people more.


    I think in England they use might more interchangeably with wood compared to North Americans. I would certainly never use might in this case but I can understand how it is usable in some places but it certainly is generally not the same in North American speech


    I am curious then. You said that you use might more like would in England (I assume wood was a typo). Let me see if I can understand that from an American perspective. To me, I would have done it says that you probably weren't even there or in that situation, but if you HAD been, then you would have done it. It also can just be about another situation that you didn't encounter, but know how you would have dealt with it.

    I might have done it, on the other hand, just adds doubt. You say this either when you are talking about something little that you don't remember (I might have... left the milk out) or when you aren't sure what you would have done in a theoretical situation. Does this vary in the English English perspective?

    It is the use of might simply to introduce doubt that Duo was working with. Since there is no similar word in Spanish, though, it did make it somewhat confusing. But that ability just to introduce doubt is what Spanish does by using the subjunctive when there is no trigger that otherwise requires it.


    Nice distinction between "would" and "might."


    Haber still gets me EVERYTIME...el buho did not like "quizas lo hiciera"


    What is incorrect with "Podría haberlo hecho "?


    There are a couple of issues here. Although object pronouns can attach to infinitives, absolutely nothing in Spanish can break up a verb phrase. So the infinitive it attaches to has to be the final verb in the phrase. So you can say podría hacerlo or lo podría hacer, but you must put lo in the beginning if you have an intermediary infinitive. So that has to be Lo podría haber hecho.

    But the other issue is that your sentence says I COULD have done it, not I MIGHT have done it. They don't quite mean the same thing. But, admittedly, Duo cheated here a little. You see, there really isn't a good translation for the word might, and Duo wasn't looking for you to try to translate the word directly. They were looking for you to recognize the purpose of the word in English sentences. Might just adds doubt to the sentence. It is unsure. In Spanish, with their robust subjunctive mood, you can add doubt in a similar way by simply using the subjunctive in a situation where it is not required. That serves the same purpose as might. That's way Duo's answer above is Yo lo hubiera hecho. They simply use the subjunctive past perfect to produce the same feeling as might have.



    Regarding this statement: "absolutely nothing in Spanish can break up a verb phrase" I've thought that was true, but I have been unable to find a reference source to substantiate my suspicion.

    Do you have a reference? ; I would like one for my files



    No, unfortunately I don't. I have done considerable internet searches and language discussions. But I actually think my statement is stronger than any I would have read. I generally never make statements that absolute. But the first foreign language I learned was French, but that was in School. Later, concentrating on Spanish, I sort of lost track of the fact that the placement of objects in verb phrases varied. I got my Spanish down and went back to relearn French and learn Italian and Portuguese. Each of the other Romance languages allow some objects or other words to intervene under certain circumstances. It still to this day trips me up trying to figure out which circumstances for which language. But I have never encountered a sentence in Spanish that didn't follow those rules. It is possible that some more advanced construction might, since few language rules are that absolute. But in this case I think that learning it as an absolute won't really hamper anyone, certainly not as much as doing something grammatically incorrect. If an exception exists, it is at a level of language fluency beyond the scope of Duolingo.



    Thanks for your response. Maybe that is why I came to the same conclusion (never seeing it otherwise).


    Lo podría haber hecho should have been accepted!


    People do often misuse might and could, but they are different. In this particular case, their differences are exactly the point. The point of this exercise is to demonstrate how to add doubt into a sentence in Spanish, because that is EXACTLY the proper role of might here. I could have done it, if used properly, implies that you had the ability but DID NOT do it. I might have done it simply means that you don't know WHETHER you did it or not. There is no modal verb might in Spanish. To introduce doubt where normally it is not there, they use the subjunctive. Duo maybe should alter the exercise, but accepting an answer which incorrectly attempts to sidestep the issue does not make sense.


    Then simply remove the sentence. If the student cannot understand and remains totally confused, the instructor has failed to communicate. I accept that other languages say things differently, but if we can't translate the meaning or intent, then nothing is communicated, and isn't that the purpose of language?


    Your suggestion to "remove the sentence" seems to miss the point of these drills. There is no classroom, there is no instructor, and there is no lesson plan. Sure, Duo offers some rudimentary informational guides and a lot of vocabulary "hints," but that's a far cry from what you imply is the purpose of these repetitive translation exercises.

    Even if your comment about the instructor was merely using a metaphor to justify your rationale for wanting the sentence removed, I think it's beside the point.

    There are plenty of translations on Duo that initially confused me. I can't imagine using Duo alone to figure out the proper use of indirect and direct object pronouns, personal "a," and a host of other grammatical issues that don't exist in English. If Duo dropped every sentence that required the personal a merely because it might be confusing, we wouldn't be getting any exposure to an everyday aspect of the language. Likewise, if there were only a certain kind of structured sentence that demonstrated the use of the subjunctive, we'd completely miss that element too. This drill is actually an extremely good example of how the subjunctive can be used without the usual triggers and it's that quality that seems to be confusing a lot of people. Because of that, there have been a large number of very interesting and useful comments from both native Spanish speakers and more advanced students of Spanish.

    So, what you take as a major failing, I see as the greatest strength of this exercise sentence.


    I still very much disagree. Even though podría is not subjunctive it can also express doubt, and in this case 'could have' is more accurate than 'would have', IMO. Actually, I believe that in this case 'could have' adds MORE doubt than 'would have'.


    But that's the point. This is why the sentence says I might have instead of EITHER I could have or I would have. Duo is trying to increase your understanding of the subjunctive, which is very important considering our subjunctive is more limited and often essentially invisible. It is true that might and could are often used similarly, but there is a difference. All I can tell you for sure is that if you asked someone in Spanish if they were the one to leave the milk out all night, they would be much more likely to respond Yo lo hubiera hecho than Yo lo podría haber hecho. And you would definitely not translate that as I would have done it. It is the Spanish meaning that's really at issue, not the English.


    Well, IMO Duolingo is just adding confusion with such sentences. And I know native speakers would have said ‘lo hubiera hecho’ (I live in Mexico). My point was just that my translation should have been accepted, but I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.


    Well agreeing to disagree is fine. But if you live in Mexico and understand that a native speaker would say that under that circumstance, then the better solution might be to come up with a better English sentence that would predictably produce that Spanish sentence. The problem is that I can't find one, although it might be out there. All I am saying is if the raison d'etre of this sentence is to explain the Spanish construction, then accepting a different answer doesn't achieve that goal. If there is a better way to get that answer, we should suggest it to Duo. Otherwise a sort of agreed upon translation to represent a normal Spanish construction is the only option besides not teaching that Spanish mode of expression. It's not about me being right here, it's about the Spanish being the point. I never loved this exercise, but I did appreciate what they were trying to demonstrate, and I think it is an important thing to demonstrate.


    Duo seems to be rejecting, and in practice "failing" students' correct solutions. I ask what is the falt you find with "Podria haberlo hecho"?


    I asked two native speakers, one from Columbia and the other from Mexico, how they would translate this. Both said the same which is either "Yo depronto lo hize" or "Yo problemente lo hize", with the latter being the most common way they said it would be spoken. Voice inflection and facial expression added to infer the unknown if you actually did the act or not. So my impression is that there is more than one way to correctly translate this. As such, Duolingo should be correcting it as having more than one possible translation. I can appreciate the point of trying to illustrate the use conjugation, but if you are learning the language and speaking to others in their native countries, shouldn't we be able to know how to communicate locally in they way they speak it?


    It's interesting that both your native speakers included the word yo, since most would not. But that's besides the point. To me the point is that Duo is attempting to illustrate a very specific thing here. It is trying to show how just using the subjunctive in Spanish where it is not otherwise indicated can introduce doubt into the sentence in a way we can't without introducing what is essentially a doubt word. So in this case, as in many others, Duo just allowing different possible translations means essentially that they cannot be sure that you are learning what they are trying to teach you in this particular exercise. So ask your friends how they would translate the Spanish subjunctive sentence that Duo wants as an answer into English. I really am curious as to what they would say. If there is a more precise or more standard translation of the Spanish, then that certainly would make a better clue, because clearly this confuses people. There actually aren't very many sentences that can't be phrase differently, and to some extent that should be reinforced by Duo accepting the most common ways. But when one language has a tool that the other doesn't have, or at least doesn't use in the same way, then some sort of convention is adopted to convey the meaning. With ustedes you see this when you becomes you all (or y'all on some sites) we know that this is just a way of indicating a plural you, even though the all is omitted most of the time. Similarly with the imperfect you have the phrase I hate because it is misleading as often as it is helpful. That is "used to". Almuerzo en el hotel. I eat at the hotel. Almorcé en el hotel. I ate at the hotel. Almorzaba en el hotel. This one is generally translated as I used to, although used to should be translated with solía. But used to implies multiple times and so we use it here despite the fact that it also implies the fact that you don't anymore, and the imperfect does NOT assume that it isn't still happening. These are tools used to explain something that doesn't exist the same way in English. But if we want to learn Spanish we have to learn how to both use and understand them. That is the whole point of this exercise. Don't just derail it by allowing students to circumvent what Duo is trying to teach. Either accept it as Duo's shorthand for indicating a Spanish optional use of the subjunctive to add doubt, or come up with a better one.


    Why does "Yo lo hiciera" not work? I understand that using "hubiera" is a more literal translation but they both mean subjunctive past, just one construction is using the perfect imperfect subjunctive and another is using the imperfect subjunctive.


    The simplest answer is that Duo uses a common for common convention. But I think in this case it is a really more about the nature of the perfect tenses and the subjunctive. One of the essential aspects of the perfect tenses is that, although they are talking about the past, relative to the time in question, they do not put the event at any particular time. I have read that book could be said if you read the book yesterday or 20 years ago. But the minute you put the time frame into the picture you abandon the perfect. I read that book yesterday (or I read that book 20 years ago). But the thing about the past is that it history. What happened, happened. And it happened at a particular time and place. But this sentence is about introducing doubt in the past where it would not normally be. It is an OPTIONAL use of the subjunctive. Even to make a conditional statement in the past requires the perfect tense. That's why the past subjunctive is often used in a Contrary-to-fact way. Si lo hubiera, sabrías. If I had done it, you would know. We know this person is saying that he did not do it, but the only thing that says that is the past subjunctive. Of course the past subjunctive can be used to indicate uncertainty, but that is when it is in one of the classic two clause sentences joined by que where the WEIRDO verb in the first clause is in the past tense (imperfect, preterite or perfect).

    Mi padre dudaba que nosotros comiéramos toda la pizza. My father doubted that we ate the whole pizza.

    Ellos deseaban que su hermano abriera la puerta. They wished that his brother would open the door.

    But in those sentences the role of subjunctive in those sentences is to confirm the doubt introduced by the WEIRDO verb, not to introduce doubt in itself. So, as a stand alone sentence, I'm not sure if your sentence makes any sense at all. You aren't saying you did it. You aren't saying you did not do it and you aren't being doubtful, so I don't know what's left.


    Duo translation means I would have done it. To use might for would is archaic at best and dumber than a stump at the worst.


    I agree "I would have done it" is a reasonable interpretation of "lo hubiera hecho" as part of a conditional statement. But this drill sentence is not a conditional and need not have only that interpretation.

    The Spanish is merely a subjunctive version of "I had done it." For example, "¡Ojalá lo hubiera hecho!" translates to "I wish I had done it!" Absent any WEIRDO trigger words/phrases, there is no rule that prevents a modal such as "might" from being used to represent one possible subjunctive interpretation of "lo hubiera hecho."

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