Unformatted text preview: often expressed idiomatically in English as “can (is able to) do something” in the present tense or “could (was able to) do something” in the past. The imperfect forms of poder express an ongoing ability to do something in the past. In a negative sentence, the imperfect tense of poder indicates an ongoing lack of ability to do something that was assumed or obvious. Used negatively in the imperfect, the indication is that one never specifically tried to do something but, rather, assumed the inability was ongoing. Poder is used in the preterite tense to indicate a specific time when an ability to do something was not normally the case. In English a speaker says “I managed to do it” when something isn't typically do-able....
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- Fall '09
- Saber, Preterite tenses, English idiomatic expression, Él supo la