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  5. "Você não consegue dormir?"

"Você não consegue dormir?"

Translation:Can't you sleep?

October 8, 2013



What's the difference between "conseguir" and "poder"?


There is a difference!

Conseguir is "te be able/capable of doing".

But poder is "to have permission or to have nothing holding you back"

Eu não posso jogar porque eu devo estudar = I can't play because I must study

Eu não consigo jogar, é muito difícil = I can't play, it's too difficult.


Is it similar to the differences between 'be able to' and 'can' - sometimes you can use both and sometimes there is only one possibility, for example 'able to' with future tenses?


Complement: now I realized conseguir is "to achieve" added to "to be able".


I'm still not sure I understand, could you elaborate or give another example?

  • Não consigo dormir = I can't sleep = I try, and I try, but I just don't sleep. I try, and I try, but all the things holding me back prevent me from sleeping. I can't handle it. I can't manage to (go to) sleep

  • Não posso dormir = I can't sleep = I'm not allowed to. If I do that, something bad might happen.

  • I've got my mind full of thoughts, eu não consigo dormir because of that.
  • I'll drive from here to São Paulo, eu não posso dormir. (Never "consigo" - it's not about "being able" or "manage to".)
  • Não consigo acertar o alvo!!! = I can't manage to hit the target
  • Não posso acertar o alvo, or else my team mate will not be qualified because I'll take his place.


Thank you! I think I understand now - have a lingot for your troubles :)


Dan, why have you been learning Japanese?

I've found quite a few Japanese groups in Brazil, so I was curious if you might be learning for possible business ventures!

Thanks again for your insights!



The first thing that came to my head was "Are you not able to fall asleep?"


Actually there are no great differences. "Conseguir" means to have the success of being able to do something. "Poder" mean just being able to do something. I don't know if you'll understand me, but I hope you will hahahaha


So they sort of just have slight differences in connotation and that's how you'd decide which one to use?


You use "conseguir" when you can achieve to do something, and "poder" when you're able to do it. In this sentence you can use both, actually. But "poder" has other meanings, like have the permission to do something, so usually "conseguir" is used to this meaning. Você não pode dormir? - You can understand that someone ir asking if this person has the permission to sleep or if this person is able to sleep.


Ohhhhh, okay, that makes sense! Thanks!


Not at all! I'm sorry, it's hard for me to explain in english hahahaha


Would this also work: "Can't you get to sleep?"


I tried that, too, but they disagree with all of the dictionary definitions and have made 'conseguir' mean 'is able to' rather than 'get, attain, manage to or acquire'. Apparently DUO doesn't like the use of 'get' with this word.


Duo should get a clue!


This verb is an enigma!! I have been in Brazil 5 months and it still baffles me at times. I believe it most perfectly translates in English to "manage to", I speak French and it would translate to "réussir" which means to succeed, but is used a alot in day to day things. All the feedback is helpful!


I put: 'You can't sleep?' and was marked as wrong. Can someone explain what this would be in Portuguese?


Duolingo, perhaps because it uses the same translation pairs in its English from Portuguese course, tends to reject declarative questions like "You can't sleep?" and prefers the standard inverted order "Can't you sleep?" ("Are you not able to sleep?") even though both styles translate the Portuguese question.


Indeed. Because of the shared sentences and the importance of teaching English learners the standard question word order, we decided not to accept univerted questions.

If we accept them, people will simply assume it's ok to do that all the time and that the inversion is just fancy. Since their main purpose in learning is to get better jobs, pass exams and things like that, we are trying to make their life easier :)


In the case of sentences where the auxiliary is "can," I think you should accept the uninverted word order. In many varieties of English (including my own), an inverted question with "can" implies frustration, e.g. "Can't you sleep?" would imply that I am frustrated that the person I'm talking to is not sleeping (compare more common examples like "Can't you be quiet?"). If I was genuinely asking whether or not the person could sleep, I would say, "You can't sleep?" or more colloquially (and more probably) "Can't sleep?"


Thanks for this answer, Dan. As a native American English speaker, though, I think there should be an exception for this example. The most natural and informal way I'd ask this question is "Can't sleep?" Inverting the verb to "Can't you sleep?" - to me, it almost implies that the speaker is wondering whether sleep is an option for the listener. I do totally agree that in the big picture, it's far more important to help students get the hang of verb inversion in English.


Is the trailing "ue" in "consegue" officially silent, or is that an artefact of the audio?


The last "e" doesn't sound silent to me. Try listening to native speakers saying the same word here: http://www.forvo.com/word/consegue/.


Forvo looks like another great resource for learners of Brazilian-Portuguese. Thank you for sharing that link.


i got it wrong when I said "Why aren't you able to sleep" This should be right. Right?


That would be ...

Por que você não consegue dormir?


I would never say, "Can't you sleep?" as a native US English speaker. The word order sounds very strange to me. Maybe it's more common in other English speaking countries. But "You can't sleep?" should definitely be accepted here.

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