From this thread Decomposition of "Lo primero disculparme por no haberte podido escribir en el mismo día" I copy and paste here a fragment from answer to my question:

...Lo primero es disculparme por no poderte escribir... = The first thing is to apologize for not being able to write you...

If I would say: "Lo primero es disculparme por no poder escribirte" - does it have the same meaning?

Does it matter to which of the verbs here you attach "Te"? It can be done interchangeably in this example?

I am asking this because I received another sentence from native speaker from Madrid: "pero no estuve en la oficina para poder mandarte la información".

My guess from the very beginning was that in this particular case the placement of "Te" doesn't matter anyhow, but just to doublecheck...

1 Answer 1


In general the pronoun can be attached to either verb in this kind of construction with poder + infinitive (and other verbs, like querer, and the periphrastic future with ir a).

  • Te puedo escribir = Puedo escribirte
  • no poderte escribir = no poder escribirte
  • No te he podido escribir = No he podido escribirte
  • no haberte podido escribir = no haber podido escribirte
  • Te voy a escribir = Voy a escribirte
  • Te quiero escribir = Quiero escribirte

That is, within the rules about placement (the pronoun goes before a finite verb, the pronoun goes after an infinitive, etc.), it makes no difference where the pronoun goes. Native speakers choose the position of the pronoun more or less at random, sometimes with considerations of rhythm or prosody or what sounds best.

So what you got: ...para poder mandarte la información could also be ...para poderte mandar la información.

Note (this was in another question but I can't find it now) that this doesn't hold for all verbs; for example with verbs of perception followed by infinitives of other verbs, the semantics is different:

  • Te veo escribir ("I see you writing") BUT NOT ❌ Veo escribirte
  • Te escucho cantar ("I hear you singing") BUT NOT ❌ Escucho cantarte

This is because the pronoun is the object of the main verb (ver, escuchar), not the subordinate verb. With poder and querer it's different because poder + infinitive functions like a unit.

  • @JanusBahsJacquet Corrected.Thanks!
    – pablodf76
    Nov 22, 2019 at 0:27

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