There are 2 translations of can in Spanish:


Pronunciation: /kæn; weak form kən/

modal verb/verbo modal (past tense of/pasado de could)

When can means to be capable of or to be allowed to, it is translated by poder: he can't eat no puede comer; can you come out tonight? ¿puedes salir esta noche?When can means to know how to, it is translated by saber: can you swim? ¿sabes nadar?; she can already read and write ya sabe leer y escribir.When can is used with a verb of perception such as see, hear, or feel, it is often not translated: can you see her from here? ¿la ves desde aquí?; she couldn't feel anything no sentía nada.

  • 1 (indicating ability) forms of poder*; (referring to particular skills) forms of saber* can you come to the dance this evening? ¿puedes venir al baile esta noche? she couldn't answer the question no pudo contestar la pregunta the house can accommodate six people en la casa se pueden alojar seis personas I'll do what I can haré lo que pueda or lo que esté en mi mano they did all they could hicieron todo lo que pudieron no can do [colloquial/familiar] no puedo I can't stay long no me puedo quedar mucho rato can't you keep still? ¿no puedes estarte quieto? I cannot believe she said that no puedo creer que dijera eso we can but try con intentarlo no se pierde nada will things improve? — we can but hope so ¿mejorarán las cosas? — esperemos que sí I can't but agree no puedo menos que estar de acuerdo can you swim/speak German? ¿sabes nadar/(hablar) alemán? she could read music when she was four a los cuatro años ya sabía leer música
  • 2 2.1 (indicating, asking etc permission) forms of poder* I can't stay out late no puedo or no me dejan volver a casa tarde can I come with you? ¿puedo ir contigo? you can't go in there, madam no puede entrar ahí, señora you can stay as long as you like te puedes quedar todo el tiempo or todo lo que quieras 2.2 (in requests) forms of poder* can you turn that music down, please? ¿puedes bajar esa música, por favor? can I have two salads, please? ¿me trae dos ensaladas, por favor? 2.3 (in offers) can I help you? ¿me permite? (in shop) ¿lo/la atienden?, ¿qué desea? can I carry that for you? ¿quieres que (te) lleve eso?
  • 3 3.1 (with verbs of perception) I can't see very well no veo muy bien can you hear me? ¿me oyes? I could hear every word they said oía todo lo que decían as you can see, there's a lot of work to be done como ves or puedes ver, hay mucho que hacer 3.2 (with verbs of mental activity) I can't understand it no lo entiendo, no logro or no puedo entenderlo can you remember her name? ¿te acuerdas de cómo se llama? I could guess what had happened me imaginaba lo que había pasado can't you tell he's lying? ¿no te das cuenta de que está mintiendo?
  • 4 4.1 (allow oneself to) (with neg or interrog) forms of poder* you can't blame her no puedes echarle la culpa I couldn't very well tell him just then no se lo podía decir justo en ese momento how could you? pero ¿cómo se te ocurrió hacer ( or decir etc) una cosa así?, pero ¿cómo pudiste hacer ( or decir etc) una cosa así? 4.2 (in suggestions, advice) can't you give it another try? ¿por qué no lo vuelves a intentar? you can't let him have the last word no puedes dejar que diga la última palabra 4.3 (in orders) for a start, you can clean all this up puedes empezar por limpiar todo esto if you don't behave you can go straight to bed si no te portas bien, te vas inmediatamente a la cama
  • 5 5.1 (indicating possibility) forms of poder* anything can happen now ahora puede pasar cualquier cosa what can she be doing in there? ¿qué estará haciendo ahí?, ¿qué puede estar haciendo ahí? it can't be true! ¡no puede ser!, ¡no es posible! you can't be serious! ¡no lo dirás en serio! she can't have finished already no puede haber terminado ya he can't be her husband no puede ser su marido 5.2 (indicating characteristic) you can be really stubborn a veces eres realmente terco she can be charming when she wants to es encantadora cuando quiere or cuando se lo propone learning the piano can be fun aprender a tocar el piano puede ser divertido she's as happy as can be está contentísima, está de lo más contenta see also could

Definition of can in:

There are 2 translations of can in Spanish:


Pronunciation: /kæn/


  • 1 1.1 (container) lata (feminine), bote (masculine) (Spain/España) , tarro (masculine) (Chile) a can of tomatoes una lata or (in Spain also/en España también) un bote or (Chile) un tarro de tomates a can of beer una lata or (in Spain also/en España también) un bote de cerveza a 4 gallon gasoline can un bidón de gasolina de 4 galones a can of worms [colloquial/familiar] un problema complicado the investigation has opened up a real can of worms la investigación ha destapado toda una serie de problemas to carry the can (British English/inglés británico) [colloquial/familiar] pagar* el pato [colloquial/familiar]
    More example sentences
    • The emphasis on cans and metal containers has allowed the company to focus on more than just its information and manufacturing systems.
    • On the safety side of the issue, rust damage could occur to the bottoms of stored metal containers such as cans of thinner and other combustible fluids.
    • The company, which has had to ship coffee in retro metal cans, is now telling retailers supplies will be back to normal by early December.
    More example sentences
    • Green, clear and brown glass, steel food cans and aluminium cans may be recycled at this venue.
    • The waste matter for the blue bin includes papers, magazines, cardboard, food tins, aluminium drink cans, milk cartons and plastic bottles.
    • Each eligible household is given a black box to put in newspapers, magazines, glass bottles, steel and aluminium cans, textiles and foil to be recycled.
    1.2 (for garbage) (American English/inglés norteamericano) cubo (masculine) or (Southern Cone/Cono Sur) tacho (masculine) or (Mexico/México) bote (masculine) or (Colombia) caneca (feminine) or (Venezuela) tobo (masculine) de la basura 1.3 (for film) [Cinema/Cine] lata (feminine) to be in the can [colloquial/familiar] [film/take/scene] estar* listo [colloquial/familiar] the contract's in the can el contrato es un hecho, tenemos el contrato en el bote (Spain/España) [colloquial/familiar]

transitive verb/verbo transitivo (-nn-)

  • 1 1.1 (put in cans) enlatar 1.2 (bottle) (American English/inglés norteamericano) [fruit] preparar conservas de

Definition of can in: