There are 2 entries that translate can into Spanish:

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can 1

American English: /kæn/
British English: /kan/
, /kən/

modal verb past tense 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
    (referring to particular skills) forms of
    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]
    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
    Example sentences
    • What they want is one or two books a week which sell in thousands, pretty much as fast as they can unpack them.
    • It turns out men and women can set the alarm clock or preset some radio stations with equal ease.
    • From the ridge he could see for miles in all directions as the horizon stretched away into the misty mountains.
  • 2 2.1 (indicating, asking etc permission) forms of I can't stay out late
    no puedo or no me dejan volver a casa tarde
    can I come with you? 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
    Example sentences
    • You are told that you can open the door at any time you wish, but only once, and only briefly.
    • Only law officers could legally bear arms.
    • It takes a couple of seconds to phone a team doctor and check if you can take something.
    2.2 (in requests) forms of 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?
    Example sentences
    • He emerged from the shop empty handed, and said: I'm sorry, can you lend me £6?
    • Can you open that window?
    • Can't you be more reasonable?
    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?
    Example sentences
    • We could eat out somewhere and get to know each other if you want.
    • Once again, can I reiterate my offer to Mrs Fell to go through any problems she has.
    • We could have another go if you like?
  • 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 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?
    Example sentences
    • Who but the most resentful can seriously doubt that he, too, belongs on that list?
    • How many Japanese mobile phone owners can want to know about North London happenings?
    • Now, if a telephone company can't even sort out their own phone lines, how can they sort out mine?
    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 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 alsocould
    Example sentences
    • In just six weeks he has learned that the internet can be an extremely useful tool for research.
    • Even November in Florida could be hot, and that day was no exception.
    • Inscriptions in public places can also indicate the social status of the artist.
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There are 2 entries that translate can into Spanish:

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can 2

American English: /kæn/
British English: /kan/


  • 1 1.1 (container) a can of tomatoes
    una lata de tomates
    un bote de tomates (Spain)
    un tarro de tomates (Chile)
    a can of beer
    un bote de cerveza (Spain)
    a 4 gallon gasoline can
    un bidón de gasolina de 4 galones
    a can of worms [colloquial]
    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) [colloquial]
    pagar el pato [colloquial]
    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.
    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) (US)
    cubo (masculine) de la basura
    tacho (masculine) de la basura (Southern Cone)
    bote (masculine) de la basura (Mexico)
    caneca (feminine) de la basura (Colombia)
    tobo (masculine) de la basura (Venezuela)
    1.3 (for film) (Cinema) to be in the can [colloquial] (film/take/scene)
    estar listo [colloquial]
    the contract's in the can
    el contrato es un hecho

transitive verb present participle canning past tense, past participle canned

  • 1 1.1 (put in cans)
    Example sentences
    • Some food companies now are canning vegetables with no salt added.
    • By the 1880s canned foods had an important place in popular diet.
    • Disregarding the value of your labor, canning homegrown food may save you half the cost of buying commercially canned food.
    1.2 (bottle) (US)
    preparar conservas de
  • 2 (US) [colloquial] 2.1 (dismiss)
    echar [colloquial]
    correr [colloquial]
    Example sentences
    • A county wastewater employee says he was canned for speaking out against a private company.
    • I watched a district and regional manager fire an employee for a more than acceptable reason, and end up getting canned themselves when the employee sued for wrongful termination.
    • Needless to say he was canned along with his boss and dismissed from government work
    Example sentences
    • Mr Boman said although the June quarter was traditionally slower than the March quarter, the sales slowdown could result in some projects being canned.
    • A $3.5-million cleanup project was canned in May 2000 for feasibility problems.
    • However, six months after commencement of my portion of the project, my industry sponsors canned their end of the deal.
    2.2 (stop) (usu in impera) can it!
    ¡basta ya!
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