PODER in Portuguese

portuguese-verb-poder

PODER in Portuguese

Surely one of the most powerful verbs. Nothing happens without it. Why then you ask, does it have to be so tricky? It doesn't have to be. Let's de-construct poder by looking at how it's most commonly used.

Standard use in the simple present tense looks like this.

Can you go? >> Você pode ir?
Yes, I can go. >> Sim, posso ir.

But in everyday conversation, people often throw in an extra IR (eu vou) like this...

Yes, I can go. >> Sim, vou poder ir.

Confusing.
This is just like saying "I'm not going to be able to go." The meaning is the same, but it's a different approach. A Brazilian learning English would say -why don't you just say "I can't go" -?! 😉 I'm pointing this out because this is an intermediate level post and you are going to start noticing lots of variations in standard sentence structure, and it's going to cause you confusion.

Now let's try saying, "Eu não vou poder" -- This time without the final verb so it just means, "I'm not going to be able to." This is really useful to use in lots of situations and is very easy to remember.

Você vai jogar tênis amanhã?" >> Não vou poder, não.

In the past tense, the conjugation is (of course!) irregular.

Eu pude. > I was able.
Você pôde. > You were able.
Ele, ela pôde. > He, she was able.
Nós pudemos. > We were able.
Eles, elas puderam. > They, you all were able.

Eu ia para a festa mas não pude.
Ontem ela não pôde sair.

Lastly let's do the conditional tense: could.

Eu poderia. > I could.
Você poderia. > You could.
Ele, ela poderia. > He, she could.
Nós poderíamos. > We could.
Eles, elas poderiam. > They, you all could.

O hotel é bom mas, poderia ficar melhor.
Tudo poderia ser diferente.
Mas tarde, poderíamos passar no bar para um drink.

*Don't forget the accent!

Não Pode, from advanced dialogs: