Interestingly, a good translation for this would use the English subjunctive form to express the subjunctive form of the Spanish sentence: "if she were able to run."
The subjunctive was triggered by the use of the word si at the beginning of the sentence. It created a speculative mood to the sentence which triggers the subjunctive and therefore the subjunctive conjugation of poder, "pudiera"
The English translation IS in the subjunctive! The only issue I have with Duo's discussion forum is that people often only read the answers at the top. Your comment has been marked up a lot which implies that people are reading it and not learning that English subjunctive recycles a lot of verb tenses to make the subjunctive mood. "If I could run fast, I would compete in the Olympics" <-- "could" = subjunctive (imperfect subjunctive according to the link below)
That's a really good site for checking English tenses and moods.
'Feedback' is usually a noun. She has used it as a verb, and I have not seen it used as such. But in any case it means to 'report back to Duo' by the report button when you are doing the skill. We can't use the report button once we have moved on to another sentence.
Feedback can also mean that loud sound of a microphone.
I hope this helps a little bit.
"feedback" = noun
"(to) feed back" = phrasal verb (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/feed-back)
Imagine that you are "feeding" something "back" to someone.
I am no expert, but according to this article
Subjunctive requires a relative pronoun (que, quien, or como) and a main verb of emotion, wish, hope, or desire.
Conditional clause = an if-clause + its consequence-clause
- Contrary to English
THE SPANISH CONSEQUENCE-CLAUSE NEVER HAS SUBJUNCTIVE
2.Like in English, I think:
subjunctive is used in the condition-clause if it is contrary to fact or doubtful.
This doesn't look right. Compare with these three sites.
American Heritage Guide to contemporary usage and Style (2005) pp. 448- 451. https://zourpri.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/the-american-heritage-guide-to-contemporary-usage-and-style-2005.pdf
According to these, apparently there are only two tenses in the English subjunctive -- present and past.
This site has four subjunctive tenses. And am skeptical that , " I had could" or "*I have could..." is proper English.
For a conditional, " I would have could" also sounds like nonsense. Thee conjugations on this cited website appear to be machine generated according to some archaic rules.
P.S. I typed in "may" and got similar nonsense.
1) I agree that the English is probably the subjunctive. It is subjunctive if it expresses a “condition contrary to fact.’ However, we don’t really have the context.
However, the Spanish is subjunctive, and I assume it is a “contrary to fact” subjunctive.
2) On a different note, I looked at your reference. Unfortunately, it has some major mistakes.
One glaring problem is that it states that the modal “can” has a gerund form: “canning":
That is total nonsense. Modals have no infinitive or participle form (“canning” would be a present participle if it were a verbal, but it is nonsense as a participle of the modal verb “can”. See this link: http://sl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/modal.htm
In addition, modals are not conjugated as are normal verbs. Modals are “auxiliary verbs” or “helper verbs”. They are not ordinary verbs.
I believe your site has confused the verb “to can”, meaning “to can fruits or vegetables”, with the modal verb “can.”
But that is not clear to me.
Regardless, English does not have phrases that your site gives such as : “I will have could” ; “I had could”. In English, those are complete nonsense.
Some of the examples your site gives do apply to the verb “to can’ (meaning to can fruits or vegetables).
However, your site has *nothing to do with the modal verb, “can”.
And in sum, the site you present is a very BAD site on modals.
See also these references for “modals”
In Spanish, present tense after si (no accent mark) is always indicative, never subjunctive. It's just a rule you have to memorize. Once you know the rule, it becomes easy. PAST tense after si is in past subjunctive and makes a sentence about an unreal condition.
The Practice Makes Perfect series of books has an entire book on when and how to use the subjunctive called "The Spanish Subjunctive Up Close". I've heard the hardcopy works much better than the Kindle copy (read the comments on Amazon). I used the hardcopy and found it VERY helpful.
Actually no, (I know I thought it would be subjective as well). If you're using the present tense with a "si" clause, then it uses the present tense and then the future tense. E.g. Si termino la tarea, iré al cine. I believe that you wouldn't use the present subjunctive in this case unless you doubt the action will happen.
The sentence above uses the imperfect subjunctive: http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/98
You're either thinking of the pluperfect/past perfect (pluscuamperfecto): http://www.studyspanish.com/verbs/lessons/pastperfect.htm
Or the subjunctive pluperfect: http://www.elearnspanishlanguage.com/grammar/verb/pluperfectsubjunctive.html
Having studied Spanish for over 5 years now (and still getting my head around por/para I'm ashamed to say!), I have discovered that the Spanish subjunctive is 100% compatible with English subjunctive, up until now anyway. It's more about the fact that English speakers are never really taught what the subjunctive is because our subjunctive recycles existing verbs. The only difference is that Spanish has separate vocabulary for their subjunctive and we don't. E.g. in this example (If she could run), 'could' is in the subjunctive but English speakers don't realise because it looks the same as the past tense of the modal 'can'.
I hate these sentence fragments on DL,. I feel there is no excuse for it, as it is an incomplete thought and thereby confusing as to the analysis of the correct mood and tense the verb is being used. I think these lessons should be somewhere else.I am feeling like a fish out of water, but I am not reading the rest of these 100+ posts.
Great link—past subjunctive used inside si clauses when they deal with something improbable or out of the ordinary—present indicative used if the condition inside the si clause is completely reasonable.
Someone else posted it, so here I am to share...
(And note... other tenses are never used with "si", as far as I am aware, but note I am not a native speaker saying this.)
I think that is true with "hypothetical" if sentences: if I were taller, I would pay basketball", but not true for cause and effect if sentences: If you eat too much you will get fat. Note the difference between "I would" and "you will". As I recall, the latter take the conditional tense.
These are considered "contrary-to-fact sentences" and there is an easy way to remember. "If I were x" (but I'm not), "I would do x." "If I had x" (but I don't), "I would do x." Both in English and in Spanish they require the subjunctive. I might add that a majority of English speakers don't even know there is a subjunctive in English.
Jay - I'm not a native speaker or anything, but it seems like you could say "no se si ella pueda correr" - I don't know if she can run vs. "no supe si ella pudiera correr" - I didn't know if she could run. The other possible use of that phrase would be in unlikely constructions, like, "Si ella pudiera correr, ganaria cada carrera""- "If she could run, she could win every race.
I'm probably wrong, but that's my reading on it.
'pueda' = can (subjunctive). To translate the English imperfect subjunctive 'could', you need the Spanish imperfect subjunctive as well which is 'pudiera'.
The tricky thing with subjunctive is that the past/present tense doesn't have the same meaning as in other moods. While the past subjunctive is often used after if in English it's not imparting a sense of the past.
I believe "If she could have run" would best be translated as "Si ella hubiera podimos correr".
'pudiera' is the imperfect subjunctive. It is used after 'si' (meaning 'if') when expressing something which is unlikely or impossible. The second part of a sentence takes the conditional. For example:
'Si tuviera mucho dinero te compraría un coche' (if I had a lot of money I'd buy you a car) 'tuviera' is the imperfect subjunctive of 'tener', and 'compraría ' the conditional of 'comprar'.
Most of the time , the verb poder will take the imperfect subjunctive form when it's conjugate to the conditional . I can't tell you why though. It's my spanish teacher who taught me this. Besides "poder" is not the only verb that do that , there is also "haber" that become "hubiera" and "querer" that become "quisiera". Moreover when the verb in the "if" clause is in a past tense such as simple past or past perfect you have to use the subjunctive in spanish
Well... Poder can be used either way, but it depends on what you're trying to say. The best test to see which tense you want is to plug in the verb "to be able" instead of using "could/can" because it can cause confusion. Podría=would be able, pudiera=were able to. "If she would be able to run" sounds a bit odd... We need more context for that to work. "If she were able to run" sounds better and usually we would add in a conditional clause afterwards to make it sound more complete e.g. Si ella pudiera correr, ganaría el maratón=If she could/were able to run, she would win the marathon.
Now, behtii, I think you're a bit confused about the imperfect subjunctive. The verb in the "if" clause IS the verb that is in the subjunctive and it usually goes with the conditional, not the past. The imperfect subjunctive is also used when it follows an independent/antecedent clause (not an "if" clause) that is in the past and expresses something that requires the subjunctive (doubt, words of influence, emotion, demands, etc...) http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/98
Usually in hypothetical situations the imperfect subjunctive is needed after you see the word "si" (if). "Si yo pudiera comer pato", "If I could (were able to) eat duck". Podría would be used if it doesn't follow the "si" e.g. "Yo podría comprar esta televisión si tuviera más dinero", "I could (would be able to) buy that TV if I had more money". Sometimes it helps to say "would be able to" (podría) and "were able to" (pudiera) instead of "could", because "could" has MANY uses in English that don't always get translated the same in Spanish.
That's the conditional tense. Basically, there are two parts to a subjunctive/conditional statement. One being the 'if' clause and the other being the 'conditional' clause.
If she could run, she would do it
Pretend this were Duo's full example. Here, 'could' is the English imperfect subjunctive (not the past tense of 'can') and therefore needs the equivalent Spanish imperfect subjunctive 'pudiera'. 'Would (do)' is the English conditional and requires the Spanish conditional 'haría'.
She could run, if she had time
Here, 'could' is the English conditional which requires the equivalent Spanish conditional 'podría' and 'had' is now the English imperfect subjunctive which requires the Spanish equivalent 'tuviera'.
The difficulty is due to the fact that English recycles the same words over and over so it's not always obvious which tense/mood we are using.
No, the present would be "can" and in that example, "could" is not in the imperfect, it's in the imperfect subjunctive. "Could" has other forms or "twins": imperfect/preterite (indicative), imperfect (subjunctive), conditional - I don't know if that's exhaustive!
Remember, unless you're talking about something which definitely happened, is happening or definitely will happen (failing a change of plans), you cannot use an actual tense because hypotheticals don't use tenses. They use "moods" (i.e. the subjunctive). The various forms of the subjunctive are referred to as 'tenses' of course but I suspect it's because we couldn't be bothered thinking up a better word!
Okay, I had the written version. The clues you would have had would be the absence of a pause after 'Si' and the fact that 'pudiera' is past subjunctive and introduces a contrary-to-fact clause in this example. For your translation to be correct, Duo would have needed to use podia or pudo. I hope this helps.
Like many here, I responded "If she could have run." And although the explanations for "If she could run" make sense, I'm left without a way to express the idea "If she could have run." Is there a better way to say "If she could have run" that distinguishes it clearly from "If she could run"?
well I too used that translation but the explanations here don't make sense to me since they don't explain the reason for a Past as well as subjunctive. If she could have run is as close as English has to a past "contrary to fact" subjunctive which is what it seems to be in Spanish.
It's because the subjunctive and past tense have nothing to do with each other. The subjunctive is a mood not a tense. You have to stop thinking of 'could' in this example as being the 'past tense' because it isn't. In this example, 'could' is subjunctive not the past tense of the modal 'can' (which is also 'could'). Here, 'could' = 'were able to'. If she were able to run...
This event hasn't happened, isn't happening and isn't going to happen hence why the subjunctive is called a 'mood' and not a tense. You are not referring to a real event, you are speaking hypothetically. Having said all of that (because it helps with understanding), there are different 'tenses' of the subjunctive but only for clarification, not because those time frames actually exist in this hypothetical world where 'she can run'. We need the subjunctive to allow us to talk about things that haven't happened otherwise we would confuse the hell out of everyone. We would have to speak very literally like robots!
There are multiple levels of complexity here, expressed pretty well, if non-systematically in all the many comments. You say the subjunctive and past have nothing to do with each other, one being a tense and the other being a mood. However in the case of "poder" (to be able) the tense is confused in English with the mood bc both are represented by the word "could". That's one thing. Another is the very meaning of the word mixes moods in that it brings into question the possibility of the action's actual existence. If you can't do something, it's not possible, so not actual, so… possibly subjunctive in nature. What sorting through all these layers does for me is the conclusion that this is a very good case study in why DL needs to give more than sentence fragments, or even sentences, to give the meaning context of the language, in order to know how to translate it from one set of linguistic distinctions (Spanish) into quite a different set (English). One way to do that would be to weave a little story from each lesson so that the sentence we're translating is a part of a whole, where for instance we would know what tense and mood are being referred to here and so how to translate it. IMO
I 100% agree that Duo needs to expand especially for English and especially for sentences which include tenses/moods that can be ambiguous in English due to our reusing of tenses to create moods.
It's usually pretty clear if a tense or mood is required for example, with 'if' at the beginning of this fragment, it has to be a mood because 'if' automatically makes this subjunctive. If Duo had dropped the 'if' then we would have had some real ambiguity because we would have had to choose between the past tense of 'can' and the conditional form of 'can' e.g.
She could run because the restraints were removed (past)
She could run, if the restraints were removed (conditional)
I know you're aware that 'could' (/'was able to') is the past tense of 'can' but you seem to feel that 'could' cannot be used to talk about things people were definitely able to do in the past which I don't understand. I could then go to the park because it stopped raining, He could see the rainbow and it was stunning, We couldn't stop laughing.
These are all typical uses of the past tense of 'can' to talk about things which did happen. But regarding the rest of your post, yes, I do think Duo should provide more than sentence fragments.
1) "If she had been able to run" is a valid translation as long as you accept that "had" is a valid past subjunctive form, otherwise it's clearer to use "If she were to have been able to run".
2) In English "If she could have run" means "If she had been able to run", so both of your English examples translate to "Si ella hubiera podido correr". I'm not sure if "Si ella pudiera haber corrido" is used in Spanish but in English it would translate as "If she were able to have run". I struggle to understand what this could mean. Can you have the ability to have recently done something? This might be a nonsense construction.
It's an "if clause", those can sometimes trigger the subjunctive. http://grammar.spanishintexas.org/verbs/si-clauses/
I get all that when I hover. This one gives more http://www.123teachme.com/spanish_verb_conjugation/poder
Modal verbs in all languages do not express a specific activity in itself but rather how it's being carried out, i.e. the mode of execution: may or may not (permission/possibility), can (ability/permission), must (obligation), should, ought/need to, have to, will etc. "I can help you" as opposed to "I must help you" convey a completely different meaning. That's exactly what the purpose of MODAL VERBS is. Good luck with learning Spanis modals and their use.
The difficult thing is that "modal" verbs usually refers to the subset of verbs that behave in a specific functional way, i.e. in English they may undergo inversion, can catenate with another verb without a linking "to" and are often defective. These are mostly restricted to the verbs that describe how an action is carried out (as you've said) but not all such verbs are functionally modals and often different verb cognates are functionally modal in different languages. E.g. "want" is not functionally a modal in English but in many other languages it's direct translation is a modal.
The implication in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive is that she can't run. Something has happened that makes it difficult if not impossible for her to run. Maybe she's in a wheelchair?
"If she could run" is now the translation, but "If only she could run" is also correct and conveys the wistful sense of longing that is present in the Spanish.
Quisiera is a weird verb, it actually means "wanted", but in common practice it can also mean "would like". "Si ella pudiera" means either "if she could run" or "if she were able to run". The past subjunctive in Spanish is basically translated as the past tense in English. The tense that expresses "would..." Is actually the conditional: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/conditional.htm
"If she could run" and "if she were able to run" mean exactly the same thing. They are both in the subjunctive. The past subjunctive in Spanish (in my experience) is the past subjunctive in English; it's just not as obvious because our subjunctive uses the same vocabulary as our tenses which makes it confusing and difficult to recognise. The conditional is the same in Spanish and English although where Spanish uses different verb endings, we add "would" (as you say).
"Quisiera" is the imperfect subjunctive and, as you say, it means "... wanted" or; "... was wanting" and is used to make questions/requests more polite, same as in English: "I was wanting to know...", "I wanted to know if..." (I would like = me gustaría).
Yes, I know that we have a past subjunctive in English, however, most people don't even know what the subjective is in English, which is why I said that it's basically translated as the past tense. http://www.grammaring.com/past-subjunctive
"could" in this case, yes is the exact same thing as "were able to" in this situation. However, I was just pointing out the "were able to" because it makes it more obvious that it is the subjective if you use the "to be able to" form rather than "can", because we use "could" for many different situations which doesn't always get translated the same into Spanish.
I learned that to say "I would like" you would say "me gustaría", however, "quisiera" is commonly used in place of "me gustaría" when I hear natives speak. But yes, it is a way to politely request something as you mentioned.
Sí (with the accent) is used to mean "YES", When you are going to answer something, or when you agree with someone, and you feel sure, you say: Yes!.
Si (without the accent) is used to mean "IF" when you explain something you are specifying the motives for which you do not agree or you show one condition for doing it.
I hope to have helped If there doubts or mistakes please comment
Greeting and luck
"Would be able to" is conditional in English, but "pudiera" in Spanish is imperfect subjunctive. It's true that sometimes conditional in English might translate at times to subjunctive in Spanish but not always. In most cases, you often have a sentence that has BOTH the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional. The Duolingo sentence is only half a sentence, but you could have something like these:
Si ella pudiera correr, ella podría correr. = If she could run, she would run.
Si ella no estuviera enferma en el hospital, podría correr. = If she weren't sick in the hospital, she would be able to run. (Maybe she is a competitive athlete training for a marathon?)
Si ella pudiera correr, ella podría ganar. = If she were able to run (or if she could run), she would win.
The Duolingo sentence is a bit cruel if you think about it.
si represents the "if", and pudiera represents the "could" or, in conjunction with the initial si, here represents "could only".
Sometimes translation is from phrase to phrase, or sentence to sentence, rather than from word to word, because it is an entire phrase of meaning that is to be translated, rather individual words.
I could/can/would never be able to converse in any language if I had to think in terms of the need to use subjuntive/preterite,etc ad naseum before i could verbalize my thought. What I need is the ability to recall how that thought was properly expressed by myself or others in my past. Repeated wide exposure, in my experience, is the best teacher of any language. Years ago such a teacher was commonly (comically) referred to as a long-haired dictionary but true of mothers and spouses as well as girl or boyfriends.