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  5. "Ella supo leer."

"Ella supo leer."

Translation:She knew how to read.

December 19, 2012



If you're talking about a woman who is alive, knew how to read once but has forgotten, it would be "sabía". If you're talking about a woman who is dead that knew how to read when she was living, it would be "supo."


If that is the case, you better add a defining sentence before it.


Supo for a live person in a particular instance of reading also.
La niña supo leer las oraciones en inglés correctamente. She “knew how to“, close to “was able to“.


I think once I'm fluent this helps because the single word is defining and you can then assume the surrounding factors


I believe the preterite form of "saber" means "found out." To say "She knew how to read" would be "Ella sabía leer."


I think the same.


This is often taught at school. I looked into it but it appears to be only partially true. The preterite of saber can mean "found out" but that's not the only meaning possible. I don't know that it would be the mostly likely meaning in this particular sentence.

This article has been helpful in understanding this. "Preterite/Imperfect Half-Truths:Problems with Spanish Textbook Rules for Usage"


"While it is not harmful to state that saber in the preterite is ofen expressed in English as "found out," etc., it is crucial to stress that these verbs are not unlike "normal" verbs when used in the preterite. In each case, the preterite of "meaning-change" verbs focuses on the beginning or the end of the action or state just as it does with "normal" verbs (Principles 2a and 2b). However, the contention that "some verbs take on a special meaning in the preterite" is misleading because it suggests that the changes in meaning always occur. In reality, they do not apply in all contexts."


It rejected "she learned how to read".


Not seeing where the word "how" is in this sentence.


"Saber leer" means "to know (how) to read."

Yo sé leer, por ejemplo, y creo que tu sepas leer también.


But what's wrong with, "She knew to read"? Like, "She knew to read the map in that situation."


yeah - that was a confusing sentence. i thought supo meant - 'knew', not 'knew how' ?


It's idiosyncratic to the word "saber".
When "saber" is combined directly with an infinitive, it becomes "know how to" whatever the other verb connotes.


She could read. Should be accepted too, I'll report.


definitely. Four years after your salient comment, could is still not accepted. 'She knew how to read' has some meaning, but sounds strange. I remember from French at school that savoir was used for having an ability, surely the same with saber in Spanish. 'She could read' has a real meaning: 'she knew how to read' sounds at best sarcastic. Come on Duolingo, sort this out!!!


And a further three months later I answered "She could read" , by which I meant "she knew how to read", and I was surprised it wasn´t accepted. Afterwards I realized that "She could read" may be ambiguous.

"The poor girl! Internet is down, she has nobody to play with and there is a snowstorm outside! What is she going to do?"

"She could read." (Ella podia leer.)


She tasted how to read. She was a synesthete.


Why isn't it "she learned how to read." or "she found out how to read." I thought the definition of saber changed in the preterit.


I thought supo was first person singular? Should it not be supa?


it is the past (preterite), not the present tense, which is: (I) supe (you inf) supiste (él/ella/you fml) supo (nosotros/-as) supimos _(ellos/-as) supieron


I had never seen that form of the verb before, so wrote what my audio sounded like, having no idea what it meant. Oh, well! Thanks, forum people!


Wasn't saber used to signify you were able to do something? Like in sabe nadar instead of puede nadar. But it didn't accept she was able to read. :/


saber means to know how to

poder means to be able to

Both can be translated as can, but they mean different things:

Ella sabe leer, pero no puede leer, porque ella perdió la visión recientemente.

She can (=knows how to) read, but she cannot (=is unable to) read, because she lost her sight recently.


It's weird because "supo" in our language means uncircumcised. :(


I think both saber and poder should be translated with the verb can. The first indicates the ability, the second opportunity


...but then got her memory wiped.


There is a fault in the audio version of this exercise. It doesn't accept the parroting of the sentence.


Shouldn't this be "Ella sabía leer"?


Ella supo como leer no es corecto?


No. The 'how' that you need to add in English is already implied in the verb saber.

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