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"If I could eat fish."

Translation:Si yo pudiera comer pescado.

5 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/anniewicker

why pudiera and not podría?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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In a conditional construct “If antecedent could, then consequent would”, the antecedent takes the subjunctive, and the consequent takes the conditional.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/belterglj

could you elaborate on that?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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"Si yo pudiera comer pescado, lo comería cada día". The first part is hypothetical and it is in the subjunctive. "If I COULD eat fish". The 2nd part would then be conditional "I WOULD eat it every day." I believe you could also flip it and say "comería pescado cada día, si yo pudiera."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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Excellent explanation, and easier to understand than Duo's fragment, because you included an entire sentence. I wonder if people would have done better with this one if it had been a complete sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anniewicker

thanks

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hesolomon

2nd that!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eshewan

Thank for this explanation! I got "if she could run" wrong earlier and now I understand why :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pianoician
Pianoician
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You're the only one who has made it that clear to me. Thanks :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EveyD
EveyD
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It has been said here that this is not a complete sentence. You can actually say "si pudiera comer pescado..." on its own, meaning "If only I could eat fish". But then, it is also half of a conditional sentence, and the translation into English loses the "wish" meaning.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Right. It's a lament "If only I could!" I wish that I could but I cannot. It seems to me that Duolingo should accept "I wish I could eat fish" but they don't for some reason.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spade

What exactly are these exercises teaching? Duo calls it modal but I'm confused on what it's trying to teach us. Sometimes it wants the preterit other times the imperfect and sometimes I think it wants a conditional but instead it wants a subjunctive.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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This link gives some more information about how the various forms of "poder" and "deber" can be translated into English. Choosing the correct English translation for the past tenses of these verbs can be tricky.

http://www.espanol-ingles.com.mx/spanish-grammar/verbs/frequent-verbs-Modal.html

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drepple
drepple
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Why is this not present subjunctive? What makes it imperfect?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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Well first of all it's because "could" is in the past in English and so the Soanish should match that. The other reason is because "if" clauses (hypothetical situations) are always followed by the imperfect subjunctive. http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/98

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drepple
drepple
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Thanks for the link - this clears it up. I'm not so sure about the "could" being in the past, although it certainly can be used for past action. It might be that the person was disabled from eating fish in the past but now is able to eat it, but it is more likely an expression of a continuing and present condition. So I wonder why either language borrows or uses a past tense verb.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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The key phrase from the linked article is "the imperfect subjunctive often refers to a previous experience but can also refer to unlikely events or possibilities."

This passage from an article (linked below) about the English subjunctive might also be helpful:

"As already mentioned, the only distinct past subjunctive form in English (i.e. form that differs from the corresponding past indicative) is were, which differs when used with a first- or third-person singular subject (where the indicative form is was). As with the present subjunctive, the name past subjunctive refers to the form of the verb rather than its meaning; it does not have to (and in fact usually does not) refer to past time."

Note the last part about the past subjunctive not having to refer to past time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_subjunctive#Compound_forms.2C_auxiliaries_and_modals

4 years ago