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  5. "Hon kan komma tillbaka."

"Hon kan komma tillbaka."

Translation:She can come back.

July 29, 2015



I find "kan" as a modal quite tricky in Swedish because although it often just translates to "can" in English, this doesn't always work - sometimes it is better to translate it as "might" or "could". I'm trying to figure when you can translate "kan" as "can" and when you can't.

Here "She can come back" (in the sense that there is nothing physically stopping her from coming back) seems like the best translation but in the spirit of research I was wondering if it could potentially mean something else. For example, would it work to say "Vi borde inte hyra ut hennes rum eftersom hon kan komma tillbaka" to translate the English "We shouldn't let out her room as she might/could come back" (in the sense that there is a chance that she will come back)? Or would another Swedish modal work better in this sentence?


You are right, "hon kan komma tillbaka" can also mean that there is a possibility that she returns, but normally "could" translates to "skulle kunna" I think:
she might come back - hon skulle kunna komma tillbaka

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