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I have noticed a lack of translation to the English verb allowing "I will" to make sense. I understand how this is an entire tense in the Spanish language:

"hablaré" being "I will speak" and "comeré" being "I will eat"

Is there a way to translate the following:

"Son, can you finish your homework by 6:00"

"I will"

  • Why not "lo haré"? – xji May 15 '16 at 13:55
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The most common ways are to just answer affirmative () and either parroting back the same verb (in your case, sí, podré/puedo) or sometimes using a generic verb like hacer (e.g., sí, lo haré).

The trick is that English allows answering questions with just an auxiliary verb, but Spanish doesn't, and in case, as you've seen, what's done with an auxiliary verb simply isn't separable at all because it's just one word in Spanish. Note what happens when we switch to the periphrastic future:

¿Vas a poder terminar la tarea antes de las 6?
— Sí, voy. (wrong)
— Sí, voy a poder. (okay)
— Sí, podré. (okay)
— Sí, puedo. (okay)

But…

¿Vas al cine esta noche?
— Sí, voy. (okay, because ir isn't being used as an auxiliary)

Similar will happen with other constructions:

Have you eaten today? Yes, I have.
¿Has comido hoy?
— Sí, he. (wrong)
— Sí, he comido (okay)
— Sí, ya comí (okay).

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There are a lot of ways to express that, but there's no way to directly translate "I will". Since the son is being asked whether he can finish his homework by 6, he could respond:

"Sí, puedo" or "Sí, señor", or simply "Sí".

I am always telling my wife: get away from the idea that you have to translate phrases word for word. It's the thought that counts!

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