I could have spoken more

mike_smith_11

New Member
English
If I wanted to say in Spanish...

'I could have spoken more in my exam', is it:

Podía haber hablado màs... OR
Pudiera haber hablado màs

Thanks
 
  • aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Podría haber hablado más ... pero no lo hice/pero no me dejaron/pero no me alcanzó el tiempo.

    If that could is like the one in the old lyrics
    " 'Cause I couldn't stand the pain
    And I would be sad
    If our new love was in vain "
     

    mike_smith_11

    New Member
    English
    Why not podía? Because that's past tense?

    And pudiera? wouldn't that imply a hypothetical meaning, like: 'i could have... But didn't'
    'Lo pudiera haber hecho, pero no lo hice'

    Sorry for the amount of question!!
     

    aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    No problem. You could use "pudiera haberlo hecho", but some people would tell you that's wrong -although it's right-, so "podría" is the standard that won't fail here. Maybe, you could start there and later move into localization and more intricate details of the language. After all, the case you thought using Spanish indicative is not right there "podía haber hablado más" because retrospectively that didn't happen. You can say "podía hablar más, pero no lo hice" instead.
     

    aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Yes, but podría is a general use and pudiera is regionally used here meaning podría. I belong in a region where that pudiera is used when you need to set the whole thing in the past. The "haber hablado" bit turns that unnecessary, so I -like a lot of educated native speakers- choose conditional instead. Half of native speakers wouldn't even allow themselves to use imperfect subjunctive there. Many of them may even consider it to be a sacrilege.

    Thinking that conditional and imperfect subjunctive are mutual replacements may be a dangerous notion.
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    No problem. You could use "pudiera haberlo hecho", but some people would tell you that's wrong -although it's right-, so "podría" is the standard that won't fail here. Maybe, you could start there and later move into localization and more intricate details of the language. After all, the case you thought using Spanish indicative is not right there "podía haber hablado más" because retrospectively that didn't happen. You can say "podía hablar más, pero no lo hice" instead.
    Alec,

    I'm sorry but I don't see why "podía" would not work here.

    Thanks a lot!

    So just to summarize:

    pudiera and podría here mean the same thing?
    Yes. But don't draw the wrong conclusions; this only works with a very limited number of verbs. With "poder" the imperfect subjunctive in -ra can replace the conditional.
     

    aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Alec,

    I'm sorry but I don't see why "podía" would not work here.

    As well as "pude", that's true. That's why I asked the exact intention behind that could.

    pude haber hablado más
    podía haber hablado más
    pudiera haber hablado más
    podría haber hablado más
    hubiera podido hablar más
    habría podido hablar más

    Just as a feature of the verb poder, which many have considered to be a modal verb in Spanish, all of those phrases above share a similar context and different reasons for choosing the tense: I could do something but I chose not to do it/I got distracted and I forgot to do it; basically nothing hypothetical there.

    My reply aimed to simplify the example and avoid to foster the possibility of Mike using Spanish tenses interchangeably when a modal verb is involved in English. I have seen too many a student taking examples using poder and extrapolating them to every possible verb in Spanish and maybe I exerted too much caution.
     

    mike_smith_11

    New Member
    English
    So if the context was:

    I came out of my exam, my friends asked me how it was, I said:

    ' not bad, but I could have spoken more '
     

    aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    There's not enough context. No idea if you are being hypothetical or you are asserting a fact and there's insufficient information in the sentence, like why you didn't speak more and why are you saying this.

    That's why I told you "podría haber hablado más". It's the most neutral approach, with the wider range.
     

    aleCcowaN

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Could have, as in I had the opportunity to speak more, but didn't...

    Maybe there can be more than one answer here?

    Spanish conveys more information, and definitively there are more than a single answer, always depending on context and intention.

    I still don't know if you didn't because you chose to do so, or you considered it to be dangerous, or you wanted to put a quick end to the exam. Without more information "podría" is the all-encompassing neutral option as it isn't implying anything but that you just could have. With "pudiera" it may mean "podría" or not, so an uneducated native speaker would take it as he or she does and an educated native speaker would take it depending on the style he or she detects in your overall speech, or keep paying attention to gather more information.

    As a general rule, when going from English verbal system into Spanish you always should give detailed contextual information as soon as you detect you are given different answers or you are asked to do so.
     

    bfanns

    New Member
    english
    @aleCcowaN

    Alec, thank you so much for this! The best explanation I have seen. Can you tell me if my assessment of the uses is somewhat correct?


    pude haber hablado más //// could have - specific occurrence
    podía haber hablado más //// could have - in general in the past
    pudiera haber hablado más //// could have - following an "if" statement or a WEIRDO statement
    podría haber hablado más //// THIS ONE CONFUSES ME
    hubiera podido hablar más //// would have been able - following an "if" statement or a WEIRDO statement
    habría podido hablar más //// would have been able

    The podría is what really confuses me. What is the difference with the others? And/or which one is it interchangeable with?

    I would just ignore it but I think it is really common and it is driving me crazy. All help is appreciated - thank you!!!!



    As well as "pude", that's true. That's why I asked the exact intention behind that could.

    pude haber hablado más
    podía haber hablado más
    pudiera haber hablado más
    podría haber hablado más
    hubiera podido hablar más
    habría podido hablar más

    Just as a feature of the verb poder, which many have considered to be a modal verb in Spanish, all of those phrases above share a similar context and different reasons for choosing the tense: I could do something but I chose not to do it/I got distracted and I forgot to do it; basically nothing hypothetical there.

    My reply aimed to simplify the example and avoid to foster the possibility of Mike using Spanish tenses interchangeably when a modal verb is involved in English. I have seen too many a student taking examples using poder and extrapolating them to every possible verb in Spanish and maybe I exerted too much caution.
     
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