I just started learning Spanish from various YouTube videos. There's something that bugs me and it's the use of puedo, puedes, pueden and podemos.

From what I've learned, "I can" is puedo in Spanish and "to do it" is hacerlo in Spanish. So, I went to google translate to look up what "I can do it" is in Spanish and it gave - "Yo puedo hacerlo".

The following are the words I typed in and the translation I saw:

You can do it - Puedes hacerlo

He/She can do it - él/ella puede hacerlo

We can do it - podemos hacerlo

They can do it - ellos pueden hacerlo

So, my question is, from what I know so far, why can't they be translated like this:

You can do it - Tu/Usted puedo hacerlo

He/She can do it - El/Ella puedo hacerlo

We can do it - Vosotros/Nosotros puedo hacerlo

They can do it - Ellos puedo hacerlo

My thought is, the one from google translate is one way of saying it and mine is another. But please I wanna know if I'm the one that's wrong. Probably, there's some kind of rule or something like that in Spanish.

  • 2
    I have learned a lot of things on YouTube but Spanish isn't one of them. As DGaleano said above, you are asking about verb conjugation. You might want to use a free app such as Duolingo to get a good introduction to Spanish. They will introduce you to the necessary material in a logical order so you can learn this and many other things. Also you might get an app just to look up the conjugation of Spanish verbs. There are free versions of that app as well. I hope that's helpful.
    – Dave B
    Nov 1, 2018 at 11:50
  • @Prince As you progress with the language you’ll start to realise that translations from the likes of Google etc are not always grammatically correct. I agree with Dave B regarding apps to look up verb conjugations, some (such as VerbForms Español) include exercises to help you learn.
    – Traveller
    Nov 2, 2018 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


This is because the verb needs to be in the form accordingly with the subject/pronoun (I, you, she), the number (singular or plural) and the time (past, present, future). This is called conjugations same as in English.

In English you say "I want" and "She wants" for regular verbs or even more you say "I am" and "you are" and "he is" for irregular verbs, but Spanish rules are a little more complex.

In English usually the verb changes in the third person (I have, She has) but in Spanish the verb form changes for each pronoun (I can't think of any exceptions right now).

In this case you are only using present tense but still the verb has a different form for each pronoun.

  • Yo puedo / I can
  • Tu puedes / you can
  • El puede / he can
  • Nosotros podemos / we can
  • Vosotros podéis / they can
  • Ellos pueden / they can

In the case of the past you would use

  • Yo pude / I could
  • Tu pudiste / You could
  • El pudo / He could
  • Nosotros pudimos / We could
  • Ellos pudieron / They could

You could check the rest of the forms of the verb for other times by clicking on the blue button Conjugar just in front of the verb on the following link http://dle.rae.es/?id=TU1KCfY|TU2nLT0

Thanks to @Nuclear_Wang's comment I'll add that the fact that each conjugation is unique for each pronoun you can drop the pronoun completely producing a complete sentence with very little or no ambiguity.

  • Puedo / I can
  • Puede / She/He can (little ambiguity here)
  • Pueden / They can
  • Podemos / We can
  • Pudimos / We could
  • 3
    To add to this, because there are unique conjugations depending on the subject, you can oftentimes drop the subject entirely, since it's implied from the conjugation. "Puedo hacerlo" and "Puedes hacerlo" are complete sentences with no ambiguity about who can do it. You may be familiar with "Vamos!" - let's go! It's pretty rare to hear "Nosotros vamos!", which means the exact same. Oct 31, 2018 at 18:49
  • 1
    Note also that poder is irregular in several different ways. It's small consolation, but for many other verbs only the endings change.
    – pablodf76
    Nov 1, 2018 at 0:03

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