I recently read a really great quote about hell and was wondering the best way to translate it.

On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become

I'm really asking about the pudiste/podría haber sido but after writing it out in Spanish I have no doubt the entire phrase could be improved.

  • En tu último día en tierra, la persona quien eres le conocerá a la persona quien pudiste haber sido.
  • En tu último día en tierra, la persona quien eres le conocerá a la persona quien podría haber sido.

1 Answer 1


Apart from a couple of minor corrections that have nothing to do with the tense to use, I had to read both sentences several times to discover the difference between them:

En tu último día en la tierra, la persona que eres conocerá a la persona que pudiste/podrías haber sido.

  • The pudiste version: in this case it seems that the person actually had the chance to become a different version of him/herself, and the person who is writing the quote knows that.
  • The podrías version: in this case the person writing the quote does not know the life of the other person and thus does not know if he/she had any actual chance of becoming someone else. So the writer is only supposing that the other person may had the chance at some time.

At least that is what I understand in both cases. As for the minor corrections:

  • I'd say la persona que eres, no need to use quien here.
  • Also, no need to add a le before conocerá.
  • 1
    Or: En tu último día sobre la tierra, quien llegaste a ser, se encontrará con el que podrías haber sido. Commented May 14, 2017 at 6:53
  • In reality it is the same person who meets the best version of himself/herself and thus realizes what could have been. I'm guessing pudiste haber sido is the better translation.
    – lucuma
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 2:06
  • @lucuma it is hard to say which version is better for the translation, as the writer is writing the sentence maybe for himself, and he knows his own life. But he is also writing it for everyone else to read it, and he does not know the life of every reader.
    – Charlie
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 4:38
  • @CarlosAlejo "you" in this case is the person that is reading it. The statement applies to everyone and really has nothing to do with the writer's knowledge of the person reading it.
    – lucuma
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 12:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.