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 the ways that PODER in Portuguese is really used. **PODER as a noun means: power. We're talking just about the verb in this post.

PODER in the Present tense

Standard use in the simple present tense looks like this.

Can you go? » Voc锚 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, eu vou poder ir.

Everyone speaks poder ir like it's a single word: Sim, eu vou poderir. Pronounced: po-dare-eee.

This is confusing.
It's 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" -?! 馃槈 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 n茫o 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聽easy to remember.
Voc锚 vai jogar t锚nis amanh茫?" » N茫o vou poder, n茫o.

PODER in the (simple) past

*simple past = preterit indicative
The past tense, the conjugation is (surprise!) irregular.

Eu pude. » I was able.
Voc锚 p么de. » You were able.
Ele, ela p么de. » He, she was able.
N贸s pudemos. » We were able.
Eles, elas puderam. » They, you all were able.

Eu ia para a festa mas n茫o pude. » I was going to go to the party but I couldn't.
Ontem ela n茫o p么de sair. » Yesterday she couldn't go out.

PODER in the conditional tense

In the Conditional tense PODER means: could.

Eu poderia. » I could.
Voc锚 poderia. » You could.
Ele, ela poderia. » He, she could.
N贸s poder铆amos. » We could.
Eles, elas poderiam » They, you all could.

O hotel 茅 bom mas, poderia ficar melhor. » The hotel is good but it could be better.
Tudo poderia ser diferente. » Everything could be different.
Mas tarde, poder铆amos passar no bar para um drink. » Later we could drop by a bar for a drink.

*Don't forget the accent!

PODER in other tenses

It's worth checkin these out. PODER is a super-used verb and you need to bookmark the conjugation reference and start using it.

N茫o Pode, from advanced dialogs: