there are 2 separate lesson on this verb poder with the meaning of could, able to do something or not.
May I check if my understanding is correct?
Perfect tense and indefinido both means not being able to something, did not manage to do it, and we saw the result which is able or not able to. They have the same meaning but just that different time period will trigger each of them separately.
Whereas, imperfect tense is about the action not able or being able to do at a specific time but we did not know the ending.
Hope someone could help clarify.
Hola Ashlyn, you are almost there.
The Pretérito Imperfecto is a past tense used to describe actions that were repeated in the past, or actions that were habits e.g. “I used to swim every week when I was little” or “I always got a tan when we went on holiday.” It is also used to describe “what was happening” in various situations e.g. what the weather was like, or who you were talking to, describe a setting.” There is a great lesson in A2 “Using the Imperfect tense in Spanish for descriptions in the past.” You can search for it on the toolbar.
The perfect tense (Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto) is used in two ways.
1. It can mean that you weren’t able to do something in the current time period e.g. “I wasn’t (in English we would say “haven’t been”) able to see my friend this morning/this week/this month or this year. This time period is still “ongoing” because the use of the word “this” makes it current.
2. The Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto is also used to talk about life-time events where the time period is not relevant, e.g. “María has married 3 times.”
You could try searching on the toolbar to get some other explanations and lessons. There are more advanced uses in the B2 lessons.
I hope this helps.
Yes, poder can be used in different tenses as you saw in the lesson and it has very similar nuances as other general verbs in terms of seeing the action as something that coud be/couldn't done in the past seeing it as something completed (preterite): no pude abrir la puerta; then something that you haven't been able to do and feeling yourself as still inside that time frame: no he podido abrir la puerta. With the imperfect: no podía abrir la puerta, we indicate more something that "was happening" then, as an ongoing action, as in I wasn't being able to open the door [I was trying but I couldn't] - here we have no indication towards that action having been successful or not in the end.
With the preterite especially you have that extra nuance with poder, also conveying that you did/didn't manage to do something, so with this same sentence:
Pude abrir la puerta/ No pude abrir la puerta
we express: I could/couldn't open the door, I managed/didn't succeed in opening the door.
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