Conjugate poder in El Pretérito Imperfecto

Poder (to be able to) is regular in El Pretérito Imperfecto.
Have a look at its conjugation:

yo podía
podías
él / ella / Ud. podía
nosotros / nosotras 
podíamos
vosotros / vosotras
podíais
ellos / ellas / Uds.   podían

Read and listen to these examples:

Yo podía escuchar música en la clase.
I could listen to music in the class.

Antes podías hacer el pino. Ahora no.
Before, you could do a handstand. Not now.

Usted no podía firmar aquí.
You could not sign here.

Nosotros podíamos ver el volcán.
We could see the volcano.

Vosotras podíais hablar alemán.
You could speak German.

Ellos podían coger el metro.
They could take the tube.

 

Look how in the examples poder is always followed by an infinitive. We use poder in El Pretérito Imperfecto combined with another verb to express what "you could do in the past at some point".

Bear in mind that "could" in English can refer to different situations. It can be referring to past actions, which is what we are explaining in this lesson, or it can refer to polite requests, e.g., "Could you pass me the salt, please?" For the latter, see Using poder to say could [do something] for polite requests and suggestions (conditional simple), also using the modal verb poder in Spanish.

For general conjugation in El Pretérito Imperfecto
see Conjugate regular -er and -ir verbs in El Pretérito Imperfecto (imperfect)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Usted no podía firmar aquí.
You could not sign here.


Ellos podían coger el metro.
They could take the tube.


Vosotras podíais hablar alemán.
You could speak German.


Nosotros podíamos ver el volcán.
We could see the volcano.


Antes podías hacer el pino. Ahora no.
Before, you could do a handstand. Not now.


Yo podía escuchar música en la clase.
I could listen to music in the class.


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