1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

мог бы роботать

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by wonlon, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    The father (I) has learned computer for his children and here
    Я стал очень хорошим программистом и мог бы работать в большой компьютерной фирме.

    I have checked бы but still not very confident what "мог бы роботать большой компьютерной фирме" mean.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  2. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    'He could, in principle, work in a big IT company'. The verb is «работать». Most likely, the «бы» is there because he goes on to say he decided not to, or something impeded him. But without the more context it is impossible to say for sure. Anyway, the meaning is as in the first sentence.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  3. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    I have reviewed the dictionary after you answered me. I believe the бы is most likely to mean possibility: "Указывает на условно-предположительную возможность действия."
    So "I might be able to work in a big IT company."
    (I could probably work in a big IT company.")
    Right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  4. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Without the context, I stand by my first option. You can interpret «условно-предположительную возможность» in many ways, and here it seems to be that the action is considered only as possible in principle, not something actual. But your translations may be right, depending on what is said around.
     
  5. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hello wonlon/ Yes, you are right. The бы + past tense of the verb here make it a conditional "form"/"tense"/"mood" - call it what you like ;).
    I could work .... or I would be able to work ... There's no "probably".

    "Might be able to" is too weak in this sentence, in my opinion. The English modal verb "might" can express different meanings according to context, but "might be able to" is more "unreal" than "мог бы", which is "would be able to", or "could".
     
  6. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    The sentence seems to make a rather strong sense of hypothesising; it implies that, most likely, he did not succeed. Can the construction 'I could' cope with this sense? (From your explanations it appears that 'might be able' is probable; the action is very "unreal", otherwise no «бы» would be used, only «мог»).
     
  7. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    I understand this to be a situation in the present and - possibly - the future from wonlon's context "The father (I) has learned computer for his children ..." not a situation in the past.

    Я стал очень хорошим программистом и мог бы работать в большой компьютерной фирме.
    I have become (= сейчас я) a very skilled programmer, and could (or would be able to) work in .... (if I pass the interview, if a vacancy arises, etc). The action (of working in a big firm) hasn't happened yet, but it still could happen, it is something he is able to do if the relevant condition is met.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  8. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Well, maybe. It did not occur to me that it might be a situation in the present; in fact, the sentence gives no clue as to when it happened, and I was sure somehow that it was a narration of the past – probably because of wonlon's previous contributions that concerned mostly narration, some short stories or the like. In the case of the present, you're right.

    («Я стал» can mean 'I had become' as well, and this is how I understood it by default).
     
  9. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    I have reviewed the whole passage. The whole story is about the change of a man by his children and woman (wife). Because his children were born, for the good of their health, he gave up smoking. He learned how to cook, wash the dishes and save money for the family. His children played football, and this made him get to know football, too. And when his children went to school, he picked up his mathematics and English, etc. When he bought his children a computer, he also learned computer in order to help them use it, and became such a good programmer.
    And here it comes the sentence Я стал очень хорошим программистом и мог бы работать в большой компьютерной фирме.

    From the context, the father's job seemed not a real programmer because he learned computer only after he bought his children computer.

    And the father became a grand-father at the end of the story. So in our sentence should be in the "past". (sorry that I haven't been exact enough when I asked my question":(.

    But anyway, it looks like the father learned computer, became a "programmer" and so confident that he guessed (as бы suggests) he could even be able to work in a big IT company.
     
  10. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Very possible. So, the answer to my doubts is that he didn't check it, it was just a guess. I agree with your interpretation.
     
  11. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Ok, thanks wonlon. In that case Ёж! is right in assuming that we are talking about a past situation, so it's a past unreal conditional. (I was thrown by your "The father (I) has learned computer". If you use the present perfect, the action of the verb has a relevance to the present.)

    Я стал очень хорошим программистом и мог бы работать в большой компьютерной фирме.
    I had become (or I became) a very good programmer and could have worked (or would have been able to work or might have worked) in a large computer company. In this case, it didn't happen, and it is not going to happen. It makes no difference to the meaning in English which of the three verb translations you choose.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013

Share This Page