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Chapter 20: Modal verbs (Auxiliaries)

  20.15 May

  May is translated in Spanish as poder

Esto lo puede hacer, ya es mayor de edad. = He may do it he is already of age.
Esto no lo puede hacer. = This he can't do it. / He may not do it.

If you want to deny something to somebody in past tense then you do it according to the English model. We do not say He might not have been there, when meaning that he was not allowed to be there. Then we would say he should not have been there (or he was not allowed to be there, but this is another construction). So do also the Spanish:

  Example

No debió hacer eso.
= He should not do it. (He was not allowed to do it)

The logic is the same as discussed before. There was actually no high degree of choice but he used just this to do diffrerently than he should have done.

  Example

No debió decírselo. = He should not have told it to her.
No debió gastar tanto dinero. = He should not have spent so much money.


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