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  5. "Ellos podrán comer juntos."

"Ellos podrán comer juntos."

Translation:They will be able to eat together.

October 14, 2013



I am trying to see if I understand the tenses here. The truth is in english we could translate so many of these as simply "could". But I am thinking it might work like this:

(imperfect) podían = They could eat together if we all go to Applebees (conditional) podrían = They could eat together if they didn't hate each other (future) podrán = When we get to Applebees, they could eat together

Correct me if I am wrong.

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podían = were able to / used to be able to / could (in the past but not conditional) podrían = could (as conditional) podrán = will be able to (future, which may be translated as can if it's clear it's in the future)

If you use podían, it's just what was happening. Use podrán and it's what's going to happen. Use podrían and it's what might happen depending on some condition

So podían = They were able to eat together when we went to Applebees. / They could eat together when we went...


Holy crap that's confusing.


podré, podrás, podrá, podremos, podréis, podrán = poder in the FUTURE tense. To me, this DL sentence is straight forward. There are no other options...


I agree that this is a simpler way to think about these tenses. Sometimes over thinking gets confusing. Thanks Talca.


But since we are being forced to translate it to English, it "could" be translated as "could (future use)"


as an English speaker, this is frequently used, e.g. "What would you like for dinner tonight?" "We could go out to eat". The could is using an implied future tense, which is supplied only by the context.


The conditional tense in its very nature has a future meaning. Whenever you are talking about a possibility you are talking about the future. But that does not make the conditional the same as the future. Saying the Sun will come up tomorrow is not the same as saying the sun could come up tomorrow. If course when you are dealing with poder you are simply talking about the ability to do something, not actually the doing of it, so poder, except in the past, will always have something of a future leaning meaning. But will be able to is definitely more of a universal translation of podrán, because English modal verbs have incomplete conjugations. Can has no infinitive, perfect tenses or future tense except as the phrasal verb to be able to. The only forms that exist for any tense or person are can and could. So the future is Will be able to, the present perfect is has/have been able to, etc.


No gernt is totally correct. I really like the bit where you can use the present where it is obviously in the future, which is what I thought. Next week we can eat together. dl keeps it simple. Fair enough


But this is for the Spanish language, not for English.


Amen to that, tx


That really helps. Thanks so much. I didn't noticed the pattern. gernt


That is a very useful comment!


Thanks for clarifying!


I still think "could" is a viable option here. It totally translates the idea.


The main problem I see with putting "could", is that it is a bit of a catch-all in English, whereas there are several different words in Spanish depending on tense and form. As confusing as it is (I'm still majorly lost with it), remember that you're trying to learn the Spanish tenses/forms, so taking a shortcut and writing "could" instead of "will be able to" "were able to" etc. is not really helping you.

(and yes, I wrote "could" too!)


I agree entirely


No, it doesn't. "they could eat together - or not; maybe they will be able to eat together, maybe they won't" is hardly the same as "they will be able to eat together".


Could does not translate the idea. Can has no future tense. Can is present tense for all forms as there is no he cans form. The past tense of can is could. This corresponds to either pude or podía (ie either the appropriate preterite or imperfect form) in Spanish and was able to in English. To translate the future of poder into English the only option is will be able to. It is true that can or will be able to can be used for the immediate future, as with all English verbs, but the same is true in Spanish. And of course the conditional often implies a future possibility, but that is just its nature in both languages. So you are still translating present to present. In both Spanish and English if you want to express some that was conditional in the past, you have to use the Conditional Perfect. He podría comer. I could have eaten.


I put "could", but I think it actually translates differently. "Can" should be an equivalent of "will be able to", but "could" seems a little off from that if you think about it.


"They will be able to eat together" was accepted.


Official and only possible answer


if you are translating into english, no. Yes english uses a catch-all. So that doesn't make it wrong. There are many instances going from language to language where only the context gives the meaning. In this case Spanish is much more precise. That doesn't mean the English speaker is speaking/writing incorrectly.


I still don't understand. Why isn't 'will be able to' interchangeable with 'could'?


Dec 30, 2014 - I personally agree that it should be interchangeable. The English modals (could, should, etc) are difficult to plug into Spanish - though with this sentence it doesn't seem very difficult. In this instance, and in many others that I have encountered, it seems random which one Duo accepts. I just accept that I will be dinged if I pick the 'wrong' interchangeable word/phrase and report it.


Because "could" means "maybe they will be able to eat together and maybe they will not be able to eat together". That negative optional outcome pretty much kills "could" as a translation for "will be able to".


'Could' means 'can - but may not choose to' 'Might' means it is possibility but not a certainty - that is, not entirely a matter of choice

Google translates 'podría' as both 'could' and 'might' - which is rather vague and 'podrán' as 'will be able to', although, in English, that still carries an element of uncertainty. Only, 'They will eat together' avoids the uncertainty element. 'Ellos comerán juntos'.

Just trying to think it out ... !

  • they will eat together - Ellos comerán juntos / they might eat together - Podrían comer juntos / they should eat together - Deberían comer juntos / they could eat together - Ellos podían comer juntos / / they will be able to eat together - Ellos podrán comer juntos /


Wow Duolingo really likes to beat the crap out of you. No explanations, no mercy.


We have done can, would, should, could, etc.. where does 'may' fit in?


what is wrong with "could"?


wrong tense. Could translates into the condicional de poder: podria, podrais, podria, podriamos, podriais, podrian.


I think "could" might be conjugated as "podria" - could, would be able. I'm still learning myself, so maybe someone with more expertise will be able to clarify it better.


Geez! This section is killing me.


I don't hear the r in podran in the slower audio clip.


The pronunciation for 'podran' was horrible. I still don't know what the letters slow or normal speed were supposed to be.... :/


This got me thinking... is there a conjugation for the verb "can" in the future tense? I can't think of it.


"Could" is close and dl accepted it is some similar sentences, but not this one for some reason. it has a conditional connotation that could be ambiguous.


Yeah , is it just me or does it seem inconsistent. It's really burning out my brain trying to figure out other ways to say the exact same thing.


I mean in English. But on second thought, there doesn't seem to be a conjugation for the English verb "can" in the past tense either. "was able" and "will be able" seem to be not just the most natural options, but only options.


For English: http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/modal.htm "Modal verbs are unlike other verbs. They do not change their form (spelling) and they have no infinitive or participle (past/present). The modals must and can need substitute verbs to express obligation or ability in the different tenses."

I've never studied modals as a grammar subject in English - they were always at the end of the book or school year and were dropped. I find the subject confusing, but I enjoy examining the semantics.

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When I teach English to adults who only speak Spanish, I try to slip the modals in early. They're easy because they have just a few forms. And you can squeeze them into future and past forms. I can't today, but tomorrow I can. I could yesterday, but today I can't.


Well now, the past tense of "can" is "canned"... or so Duo keeps trying to tell me...!

(Yes, I keep reporting it, too.)


Beware, sometimes they actually mean "canned" and "would can" - in the sence of anchovis. It took me days to figure that out.


Could actually does provide a natural but context-limited past option. For past ability, the acceptable contexts include not making a reference to a specific event, a negative statement, and a question. I could speak three languages when I was young. I could not pass the test yesterday. Could the cat jump up there?


What's wrong with "They should eat together"?


"They should eat together" means that the speaker thinks it would be better for someone if they ate together. "They will be able to eat together" expresses that they have the option to do so. They mean different things. Also, if you ever tell "you should" to an american about anything, he is quite likely to get upset at you.


Depends on the American, but as an American myself I can confirm that this is often true. Hearing "you should" sounds to many Americans as though their intelligence or capability is being insulted. It's partly a culture thing, by which I mean that we Americans aren't just stuck-up weirdos....at least, we aren't ALL just stuck-up weirdos. ;)

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Eek! Wir sind nicht so... empfindlich.


I've actually had this experience and totally failed to understand why my comment was met with such defensiveness until now!


It depends on how you say it.


"They can eat together" should be okay because "can" in English can be present or future. They can eat together today and they can eat together tomorrow and they can eat together again next year.

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I agree, but it's "can" that's the same in present or future tense.


Thanks! Something gets lost in translation between my brain and my fingers sometimes.


Please explain why could is not acceptable here. Could implies that they might or will be able to do something. I am new to spanish and I find this confusing


could = the conditional tense VS. will be able = the future tense. The base for both is P-O-D-R-, but the endings are completely different (é,ás,á,emos, éis,án VS. ía,áis,ía, íamos, íais, ían) The latter is the conditional. I could ski next week. I will ski next week. Two different meanings. Conditional is for possibilities; future is for plans. Think of it that way...


Oh, come ON. There is no reason that I couldn't say "Ellas podrán comer juntos"!


When you touch the word "no", it comes up as "does not" though when you press "he does not want to eat" it becomes as wrong as it says " he did not want to eat". Duolingo did not make sense that time!


There was no second "to"


I got it wrong. What is the difference between podian and podran


It's showing a mistake on my answer, but it's exactly the same as yours


"they can eat together "? seems the same as "they will be able to eat together". If they want to they ..., in future they ... Are you sure they will be able to eat together? - yes they can...any difference is pretty subtle...


The problem is that this subtle difference is actually a different tense in Spanish...


Why can't it be ellas as well


That should work as long as you put juntas as well as they should agree. If you had that agreement and it wasn't accepted, report it.


I wrote the correct answer and it told me i waa wrong. Anyone else having this?


Almost everyone has experienced it once or twice at least. Mostly it is sort of a fluke, although it does occasionally last until you exit the lesson. But always report it using the flag icon even if my answer should have been accepted is not an option. The technical staff are the only people who can find consistent technical issues, although most of this seems to be caused by general internet traffic and noise at the moment


Duo says "They will be able to eat together." I translated "They could eat together." and it was marked wrong. Why?


Can has no future tense. You have to use will be able to. Could is mostly conditional. Strictly speaking it is also past tense, but since we generally know whether the possibility happened, most people either say I was able to or I could have. So could can be puden, podían or podrían, but never podrán


The thing is that in English "could" is the most natural way of saying this. But Could is Future, past, and conditional all at once.


No, actually you are wrong. Could is either past tense or conditional. The conditional has a future implication that you are taking as a future tense. The only future of can is will be able to. English modal verbs are much different than standard verbs, but the same is not true of Spanish modal verbs.


"We can move to a new house next year". That is future tense. I might say "We will be able to move to a new house next year" and it will mean exactly the same thing.


We are talking at cross purposes here. Yes, both of your sentences are talking about the future and they both mean the same thing. But the issue here is the difference between tense and time period. Tense is a linguistic term. It refers to the changes in form, conjugation and grammatical inflection (as opposed to vocal inflection) of a verb that indicate time period. From Dictionary.com you have:

tense2 [tens] noun a category of verbal inflection that serves chiefly to specify the time of the action or state expressed by the verb. a set of such categories or constructions in a particular language. the time, as past, present, or future, expressed by such a category. such categories or constructions, or their meanings collectively.

By the strictest interpretation of that definition, English is considered to have only two tenses, present and past.


But obviously that is using a definition in such a way as to make it virtually useless. Instead, most linguistics and grammarians talk about simple and compound tenses. Even that poses problems for the strict definitions as people generally consider all perfect tenses compound, but strictly speaking perfect is not a tense, but an aspect, but that is neither here nor there.

The bottom line is still that tense refers to the way the simple or compound verb is formed to indicate time, not simply the indication of time. So many languages are said to have two "future tenses", the simple and the phrasal futures. Of course the English "simple" future is still a compound verb with the auxiliary will and the infinitive root (the infinitive minus to). The auxiliary verb is used in English instead of the changes in inflection indicated in the Spanish inflected form podrán. But even by that definition, can has no future. To express a future of the idea of can with will, you have to use the phrasal equivalent to be able to. English modal verbs in general are sort of mutant verbs, especially if you compare them to their Spanish equivalents which, while being irregular, still have all inflections and aspects available.

And using the present tense to refer to the future is not isolated to English. Spanish and some other languages do the same thing. It is quite normal to hear "Trabajo mañana en la mañana instead of either Trabajaré or voy a trabajar, just as we might say any English version of that. If you scroll down in the following article till it says Method 2, you will find that it is actually even more common in Spanish to use the present TENSE to talk about the future.



I know there are subtle differences in Spanish as posted by Luis on a different thread "They are actually different tenses in spanish. "Podrán" means "in the future they will be able to", whereas "podrían" means "could" or "would be able to". Subtle difference, especially when this doesn't really exist in English." The part I don't get is what is the difference between "they will be able to" and "they could" in English. And what exactly is the difference in meaning between "They will be able to eat together." and "They could eat together." and "They can eat together." My English has improved as I study Spanish.

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