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Conjugate poder in the imperfect tense in Spanish (El Pretérito Imperfecto)

Poder (to be able to) is regular in El Pretérito Imperfecto in Spanish.

Learn how to conjugate "poder" in El Pretérito Imperfecto in Spanish

yo podía
podías
él / ella / Ud. podía
nosotros / nosotras 
podíamos
vosotros / vosotras
podíais
ellos / ellas / Uds.   podían

Read and listen to these examples:

Yo podía escuchar música en la clase.I could listen to music in the class.

Antes podías hacer el pino. Ahora no.Before, you could do a handstand. Not now.

Usted no podía firmar aquí.You could not sign here.

Nosotros podíamos ver el volcán.We could see the volcano.

Vosotras podíais hablar alemán.You could speak German.

Ellos podían coger el metro.They could take the tube.

Ustedes podían cantar en la fiesta.You could sing at the party.

 

Look how in the examples poder is always followed by an infinitive. We use poder in El Pretérito Imperfecto combined with another verb to express what "you could do in the past at some point".

Bear in mind that "could" in English can refer to different situations. It can be referring to past actions, which is what we are explaining in this lesson, or it can refer to polite requests, e.g., "Could you pass me the salt, please?" For the latter, see Using poder to say could [do something] for polite requests and suggestions (conditional simple), also using the modal verb poder in Spanish.

For general conjugation in El Pretérito Imperfecto see Conjugate regular -er and -ir verbs in the imperfect tense in Spanish (El Imperfecto)

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Examples and resources

Ellos podían coger el metro.They could take the tube.
Vosotras podíais hablar alemán.You could speak German.
Ustedes podían cantar en la fiesta.You could sing at the party.
Nosotros podíamos ver el volcán.We could see the volcano.
Antes podías hacer el pino. Ahora no.Before, you could do a handstand. Not now.
Yo podía escuchar música en la clase.I could listen to music in the class.
Usted no podía firmar aquí.You could not sign here.
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