In Portuguese we can use any of the sentences below literally translated. They are both correct and have the same meaning.

Does the same apply to Spanish?

Both sentences were created by me so maybe they don't make any sense at all, but here they are anyway:

Yo sé lo que el exceso de comida chatarra puede hacer con nosotros.

Yo sé lo que el exceso de comida chatarra puede nos hacer.

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


In Spanish the unstressed pronouns (like nos) cannot be placed between a modal verb and an infinitive in constructions like poder + verb, as in Portuguese. They follow the same rules as with single verbs: they have to be placed before a conjugated verb, or after an infinitive or gerund. In this case it could be either "nos puede hacer" or "puede hacernos".

The alternative ("...puede hacer con nosotros") is grammatically correct but it sounds a bit forced.

  • Thanks a lot for the explanation. And just to be sure I fully understood it, I can use any of the constructions below: Yo sé lo que el exceso de comida chatarra nos puede hacer. Yo sé lo que el exceso de comida chatarra puede hacernos. Is that correct? Thanks again.
    – Itamar
    Dec 1, 2020 at 16:15
  • 2
    Yes, that's it exactly.
    – pablodf76
    Dec 1, 2020 at 19:04
  • 1
    @Itamar note you probably want comida basura not comida chatarra
    – Ángel
    Dec 2, 2020 at 0:33
  • 1
    Comida chatarra is common around here, actually. Obviously a literal translation from the English, but it's what we use.
    – pablodf76
    Dec 2, 2020 at 1:04
  • For any still in doubt, see chatarra and comida chatarra. Gracias, pablodf76. No sabía eso.
    – Lisa Beck
    Dec 2, 2020 at 2:43

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