English speakers encounter several problems when learning Spanish. Among those problems is the use of “could”. While in English you use “could” for past tense or polite questions, among other options, in Spanish you have a verb conjugation for each use.
You use PUDE to express that you were able to do something in the past. In this case you can use could or be able to.
For example: I was able to come and see you. // I could not avoid it.
You use PODÍA to express a past ability that you no longer have. Something you could do in the past, but can no longer do.
For example: I could always beat him at chess when he was a kid. // I could climb trees when I was younger.
You use PODRÍA in two situations. 1) To make a polite request. Could you open the window? 2) To express probability. The book could have been better.
You use PUDIERA when you use “I wish I could” or “If only I could”.
For example: I wish I could visit Florida.
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