To be able to meaning can is usually translated by the verb potere: I was not able to go = non ci sono potuto andare; I was not able to help him = non ho potuto aiutarlo. - The main exception to this occurs when to be able to implies the acquiring of a skill, when sapere is used: he's nine and he's still not able to read = ha nove anni e ancora non sa leggere. - Note that to be able to in the past is translated by riuscire, especially when some effort is implied: compare He could swim very well = sapeva nuotare benissimo, and he was able to swim ashore before he fainted = riuscì a nuotare fino a riva prima di svenire. - For more examples and other uses, see the entry below.
- 1 (having ability to) See examples:to be able to dohe was, wasn't able to read it she was able to play the piano at the age of fourpotere fare, saper fare, essere capace di fare, riuscire a fareI'll be (better) able to give you more information after the meetingsapeva suonare il piano a quattro annipotrò darti maggiori informazioni dopo la riunione
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Grammar and usage help for Italian:
- Italian Grammar Notes for English speakers translating into Italian 7: CAN, COULD
- Italian Grammar Notes for English speakers translating into Italian 10: HER
- Italian Grammar Notes for English speakers translating into Italian 11: HIS
- Italian Grammar Notes for English speakers translating into Italian 12: IN
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