I want to ask a question about the use of the verb poder in the future tense.

I was given the following sentence to read as part of a passage on future homes:

Estas estructuras se podrán transportar fácilmente.

From what I can understand, this sentence roughly translates to

These structures will be able to be transported easily.

What confused me however, was the verb poder applied in the future tense.

On its own, it suggests "one can" or "to be able to" so I thought in future tense, it would imply something along the lines of "one will be able to" i.e. that they will have an inherent property when they are made.

Is this a correct translation with a reasonable understanding of "podrán"?


2 Answers 2


Yes. That sounds good to me. One can make a distinction in Spanish between what I can do today and what I can do in the future. For example, I submitted a document to a certain office today. I can't make an appointment with them until the document has been processed next week. So, I could say

No puedo hacer cita hoy, pero podré hacer cita en dos días.

  • 2
    Tu frase me resulta muy curiosa porque en España no lo diríamos así. Yo lo expresaría: "No me pueden dar cita para hoy, pero sí para dentro de dos días".
    – Charo
    Jan 11, 2020 at 10:06
  • @Charo - En México se puede decir así, como tú lo planteaste, o bien "No puedo sacar cita hoy" o "No puedo sacar cita todavía." Pero yo lo cambié y puse "hacer" en lugar de "sacar", considerando el nivel de OP. Usé la forma con primera persona porque así el estudiante agarra mejor la idea de cómo usar "poder" en diferentes tiempos. Me gusta ajustar la información de acuerdo a lo que creo que el estudiante quiere entender mejor, y cómo creo que lo va a entender. Jan 12, 2020 at 4:07

Yes, your understanding is correct. The verb "poder" means "can", and in impersonal form ("se puede(n)"), it implies that something "is possible" (actually, the word "possible" itself has the same etymological origin as "poder"). In the future impersonal form ("se podrá(n)"), it means that something "will be possible".

So your translation

These structures will be able to be transported easily.

is correct, though probably the following translations are more idiomatic in English:

  • It will be possible to transport these structures easily.
  • These structures will be easily transportable.

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