It is a bit of a weird phrase. Why Duolingo does this, I do not know. But it is technically correct English.
Imagine being at a restaurant with a friend. Your friend has eaten a huge meal, and then orders the super-deluxe-mega-sundae. You say to him, "You can't want that", to which he replies "I can want that".
@lynettemcw I'm not sure why you've gone off on me over this. I never said that "I can want that" is wrong. What I said was that it was less reasonable than "I may want that", on the grounds that the former is less common and requires very specific context.
Regardless, I must disagree with your first point, as it is apparent that poder can be used in the context I suggested.
Note the definitions given here. There are several which are equivalent to "might", some which use present tense and others which use the conditional: http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/poder
Sometimes they aren't grammatically correct, either. I wonder how useful it is to learn stuff that is plainly wrong.
This one is totally gramatically correct. It is even one that I may have heard or said. My scenario is a little different though. You are at a job interview. The interviewer says "This job pays extraordinarily well, but you have to want to work long hours doing exacting work" You respond I can want that. The point is not the scenario, the point is that Duo doesn't teach a lot of vocabulary but does teach grammar and structure and optimizes the ways you can use your vocabulary.
xtempore ... Ha ha! - that's a great example! I thought the same as most other people - that that sounds really strange English ... but having read through the whole script of this conversation - actually Xtempmore's explanation is great! It definitely makes sense of this expression I think!
"I can want that" is not only grammatically correct English, there are also many situations in which it would make sense. For example:
(1) Bob (husband): "I hope that our son Frank makes it into Harvard. He certainly deserves it a lot more than most of his friends." Lucy (wife): "Bob! How unfeeling of you to say that!" Bob: "What? I just wish that my son be successful in life. He has worked hard at his education; he deserves the best the world has to offer. I can want that."
(2) Jack: "Fred is such a jerk! He sits behind me in history, and the whole time we were taking the test, he was looking over my shoulder and copying off me! It's so unfair! I studied for three hours last night, and he probably didn't do any work at all, but he still did as well as me! I hope the teacher gives him an F and he gets expelled." Jill: "Jack, I think you're jumping to conclusions. Maybe it was just your imagination, or maybe he was in love with the girl in front of you and couldn't take his eyes off her. He could have even been admiring your backpack! You shouldn't give him such a hard time." Jack: "What? Yeah, right. You don't just sit staring at a backpack for eighty minutes. He was definitely cheating. He was breaking the rules and looking at my paper! The teacher should flunk him and give him detention for the rest of the month. I can want that."
Out of context, "I can want that" sounds kind of awkward. However, these examples are just two of many that prove that the sentence makes sense in regular conversation.
Also, remember, the people who contribute to the Spanish language are almost definitely not native English speakers. It is very easy to miss such a subtle thing as this when you have only acquired English as a second language.
Please upvote if you found these examples helpful. I'd like to know whether I need to clarify this more.
I don't think anyone is debating that it's possible to combine the english words in that way. But look at the length of examples you have to give just to justify using it. Not to mention something like "I'm allowed to want that" would sound more natural. The point is that it's an unusual phrase that you wouldn't really hear. Which, IMO, is a moot point anyway since Duo is not always about learning a useful sentence but the underlying grammar and syntax of the language.
Jumping in here because this discussion has gone WAY off the mark.
When some random phrase seems weird, like this one, it is often a good idea to go looking for how it is used. As you might expect, the problem here is a lack of appropriate context that suggests the correct translation.
In my experience this is more often a phrase of negation, and a quick internet search suggests this is generally true. It is not often that one says that "I can want that" in English or Spanish, but in Spanish it is reasonably common to say no puedo querer eso ("I cannot want that" is the literal translation, but the meaning is closer to "I don't want that").
Yo no puedo querer eso, ni soñarlo. (I can neither want that, nor dream it.)
Por q me responde feo q no puedo querer eso. (Why did she snub me, I don't want that)
Lo siento, pero no puedo querer eso. (I am sorry, but I don't want that)
and a variation on the idea that mixes it up.
- Ya no te puedo querer, eso no puedo, porque tu me mentiste.
Hope this helps.
Are there any examples of this used in the positive? I can understand it in the negative but still don't understand how this would be used as a positive. "I don't want that" makes more sense than "I can want that". It is much more common to use the phrase "I don't want that". All the other posts using "I can want that" seem like a stretch, they work but they are not common.
There are many examples of positive phrases with puedo querer, a very common one in song is cómo la puedo querer tanto (How can I desire/love her so much?). What is at issue here is the addition of the eso, which pretty much excludes this very common construction, and makes it a phrase of wanting something.
The most usual example of a positive eso usage that comes to mind is someone arguing a hypothetical point; Me gustaría que mis alumnos disfrutar de hablar de Borges. Puedo quiero eso; pero es muy raro. Because of its construction I have trouble imagining a common situation where it would not be immediately negated since the eso is to some degree unnecessary, and its inclusion is an emphatic repetition that stresses what it is that you want (I can want THAT). That construction is only common when you are about to emphasize that what it is you want isn't going to happen.
Another example that immediately comes to mind is someone muttering to themselves in a doorway while rocking back and forth Sí, puedo quiero eso...
Since folks are getting technical, my guess is that you and neet mean "I might want that", in the sense that it is possible. "I may want that", in the sense of "I am allowed", gets even weirder. I agree with ElCanguro that "I could want that" is a little more likely to pop up.
I don't understand how you can interpret "I may want that" as meaning "I am allowed". Huh? I think "I may want that" could very easily be used if, for example, one were making something and another person went to take one of your tools. You could say, "Leave it! I may want that, later."
I went with "I can love that". "Love" and "want" were both given as translations for "querer". It was marked wrong with this advice: 'Be careful not to confuse "want" and "love"!' In English we "love" inanimate objects like cars and pie and shoes. In Spanish do you "love" only people?
I thought about typing, "I can want that", but it sounded ridiculous, so instead I typed "I may want that". I think this is a pedagogical flaw in duoLingo's use of weird sentences. They want us to translate blindly word-for-word, and this type of rather nonsensical sentence punishes us if we try to translate meaning.
The point of the exercise is to teach you the rules of grammar and sentence structure. The exact example sentence may not be practical for you to use, but you now know how to make your own sentences with different vocabulary using these same rules. If you want to focus on vocabulary and solely "practical" sentences, Duolingo probably isn't the best tool for you to use.
Actually it is. There is absolutely nothing grammatically wrong with this sentence. That you may have never.heard or said this is not surprising. There are two basic.concepts behind the sentences Duo models. It models the correct way to express many of the common things you say, especially things that don't quite translate well. That is your basic phrasebook concept. But if you are going to end up really using Spanish in real life situations, you are going to need to say things that you might never expect to say. So Duo models unusual sentences where you are not able to rely on your memory from when you.may have heard such a sentence. You only rely on what you know. Duo doesn't teach a lot of vocabulary, but it does teach those words well.
i read these discussions from time to time when the green owl says something really stupid. people argue long and hard to prove the validity of the text as it is presented. the logarithm presents grammatically correct spanish phrases which sometimes are actual sentences, but they really don't make a lick of sense in english. fine. i simply practice spanish grammar. but what i really wonder is, do people in spanish-speaking countries actually say such things as "yo puedo querer eso" or "yo no puedo morir." well, maybe if you're playing video games. it would be nice to think that i'm learning skills that i could use with native spanish speakers in a normal conversation rather than searching for some esoteric justification for phrases which will rarely come up in everyday conversation. i'm pretty sure that we could learn spanish even more efficiently if we were learning the grammarof useful, everyday speech.
English has this can/may issue that Spanish does not. We are taught from children to ask may for permission as can only states ability. Those comments by our parents and teachers like Yes you can but you may not wouldn't make sense in Spanish as poder is used for both can or may in THAT context. If someone said I may want that, however, it would not be interpreted as giving themselves permission. That would make even less sense. It would be interpreted as the statement of a future possibility. The Spanish equivalent would require either the conditional or the subjunctive. I maintain that if you could scan you complete memory for every thing you have said or heard in your native language that you would find dozens if not hundreds of these sentences that made total sense to you at the time and so much so that it didn't even seem unusual because you had a context. But whether or not you agree with me, the point is a sentence like this has its meaning encoded in the vocabulary and grammar. Duo teaches some constructions because they are quite different from their English counterparts. But those are not the ones that you are wondering about why you would say that. Those are things like the passive like construction in Spanish for saying you like something or the ways for expressing possession. Sentences like this say what they appear to say and really are not ambiguous. The need for context here is not a linguistic one. A native speaker can create and interpret sentences they have never heard before. That is the unique thing about human language. Duo is fostering this ability by not making the context the clue to the meaning but rather the structure. Don't worry about context. The meaning of this sentence is as clear as Soy un pingüino, which I am assuming you may not find natural either, unless you are from Happy Feet.
excellent post. I quite agree with virtually everything you said here. I later read some other posts and i saw good contexts for the sentence 'i can want that' which are very valid. Moreso, casting my mind back i realised there are actually several sentences we have said severally but which are not really used everyday and would sound weird. The fact that duolingo mostly focuses on understanding constructs and being able to understand or translate any sentence based on the construct and context even makes the app more appealing to me. Thanks for the observations
Although want and desire are mostly synonymous, the ways in which they differenciate themselves (like talking about sexual desire) are pretty much covered by the words querer and desear. When the subtle differences in the English words are well reflected in two Spanish words, Duo wants to strengthen your mental.connection between those words. There are.many words that don't fit as well between the two languages, but for this stage of language learning Duo loves to make those direct connections between words where possible. It it really what makes this program possible for a computer to manage. If you have used online translators you will see all the problems they have correctly translating somethings. Duo only works because there are enough words which they can put an equal sign between, and it has to work hard to deal with the others. I think that this is the reason that Duo teaches such a limited vocabulary. But it does leverage that vocabulary well.
Duo is absolutely not a phrasebook. One of the unique things about human language as opposed to other animal communication systems, at least as far as we have yet determined, is the ability to both produce and understand sentences we have never heard before. Duo teaches you how to construct and interpret sentences maximizing the use of the fairly limited vocabulary it teaches. I have in previous comments talked about circumstances where I might say something like this, but that is not really the point. The point is that if we were able to cull from ALL the actual sentences spoken throughout the adult life of all the users on Duo we could find hundreds of sentences that would be found quite strange even by the person who had uttered it in whatever strange or unique set of circumstances. In order to become fluent, you have to go beyond learning set phrases and be able to express what you want to express in all those strange or unique situations.
Yo quiero eso - ( be sure- certainty / I Want that. /I can go- Yo puedo ir/ You can learn English - Tú puedes aprender inglés/ http://webingles.com/31-poder/ ( A possibility/ chance /:Yo puedo querer(Desear- wish ) eso- I can want that. Tanto en español como en inglés en la primera frase no hay ninguna duda de lo qué quiere el que habla. En la segunda expresamos Una posibilidad Habrá que ver el grado de duda, hipótesis,probabilidad. posibilidad, certeza o incerteza de lo qué queremos decir. - Yes, We can!
When we express possibility in English, we use the word "could" rather than "can" in affirmative sentences, but my Spanish students frequently translate "Puede ser" as "It can be" instead of "It could be" or just "Maybe." It's a basic misuse of English which any human teacher would correct, but it's a limitation of this kind of automated course.