There are 2 main translations of can in Spanish

: can1can2


poder, v.

Pronunciation /kən/


  • 1

    (indicating ability) poder
    (referring to particular skills) 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 / lo que esté en mi mano
    • they did all they could hicieron todo lo que pudieron
    • no can do 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
    • If you are not working but can still afford it, consider contributing to your pension.
    • His wife and family did what they could to make life bearable, but his loneliness remained.
    • At six or seven years old, if you can run fast you're a great player and everyone wants you in their team.
    • As well as losing her speech, Holly's eyesight is fading fast and she can no longer walk.
    • The challenge for me is first to make the final and then to go as fast as I can.
    • She has seen the effect council cuts and price increases have had on those who can least afford them.
    • Anyone can drive fast, what's more important is how good you car looks when it stops.
    • Somehow the gap between what can be afforded and the price of houses must be bridged.
    • Phil on the other hand drives fast and you can feel it when he changes the gears but it's not too bad.
    • It turns out men and women can set the alarm clock or preset some radio stations with equal ease.
    • Sometimes she could not get her car out of the garage because rubbish bags were against them.
    • I also work hard but because I am taxed to the hilt I can rarely afford to play hard.
    • The police are eager to speak to anyone who can help us to find and arrest the culprits.
    • Dedicating a room to formal dining and nothing else is a luxury most of us can ill afford.
    • The gallery is full of extraordinary art with price tags people can actually afford.
    • What they want is one or two books a week which sell in thousands, pretty much as fast as they can unpack them.
    • Your best return is likely to be had by reducing the debt as fast as you can.
    • You travel four times faster than you can walk using the same amount of energy.
    • From the ridge he could see for miles in all directions as the horizon stretched away into the misty mountains.
    • In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as its slowest brain cells.
    • They rip up old track quickly and lay new track much faster than can be completed by hand.
  • 2

    • 2.1(indicating, asking etc permission)

      I can't stay out late no puedo / 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 / todo lo que quieras
      • You are told that you can open the door at any time you wish, but only once, and only briefly.
      • Signal controlled crossings mean pedestrians can only cross when permitted to do so.
      • The men will also face restrictions on who they can meet and on access to mobile phones and the internet.
      • It takes a couple of seconds to phone a team doctor and check if you can take something.
      • At this time, civilians could not buy and operate surplus military aircraft in Australia.
      • Only law officers could legally bear arms.
      • Teenagers can't go into pubs and clubs without fake ID.
      • It argues that motorists are often confused as to how fast they can go on certain roads.
      • Tell your child she can phone you at any time while away on a visit, if she's upset or worried in any way.
      • Canada, however, can only take 11 players to the Olympics.
      • Secondly, the bigger casinos will need to get a regional licence before they can open.
      • Some other places can stay open for longer because they have an entertainment licence.

    • 2.2(in requests)

      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?
      • He emerged from the shop empty handed, and said: I'm sorry, can you lend me £6?
      • Could you do me a favor?
      • Could you not stick to what I actually said?
      • Can't you be more reasonable?
      • Could you please shed some light on this issue?
      • Can you open that window?
      • Alice, can't you please offer any advice or give me a hand to overcome these uncontrollable urges?
      • Could you get me some of that shampoo?
      • Can't you go outside for a minute?
      • I have a problem with my computer, can you help me?

    • 2.3(in offers)

      can I help you? ¿me permite?
      • can I carry that for you? ¿quieres que (te) lleve eso?
      • Michael said he could take me and Christie home.
      • We could have another go if you like?
      • Once again, can I reiterate my offer to Mrs Fell to go through any problems she has.
      • ‘We could stay another week,’ Trent suggested.
      • We could eat out somewhere and get to know each other if you want.
      • I can go a lot slower if you want.
      • You can try calling him if you want to.

  • 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 / puedes ver, hay mucho que hacer

    • 3.2(with verbs of mental activity)

      I can't understand it no lo entiendo
      • 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)

      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 pudiste hacer (/ decir etc. ) una cosa así?
      • How many Japanese mobile phone owners can want to know about North London happenings?
      • Who but the most resentful can seriously doubt that he, too, belongs on that list?
      • Where could she be?
      • How misguided can you be to choose to eat your lunch in a place that has always been noted for pigeons?
      • Players like that are few and far between and can we really afford to lose another of our goalscorers?
      • How in that case, can the sky simply open and pour upon a whole big city hour after hour after hour of rain?
      • Surely he cannot be serious as to the farming out of such a serious subject as the future of the environment
      • Now, if a telephone company can't even sort out their own phone lines, how can they sort out mine?
      • What can Blackburn offer these areas that their existing councils fail to provide?
      • If this was the pinnacle of what the the tour can offer, what can the lower reaches be like?
      • If you live in New York City, you can't have missed the foundation's first set of ads.
      • What could be more perverse than playing hard to get when looking for the one we can really open up to?

    • 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)

      anything can happen now ahora puede pasar cualquier cosa
      • what can she be doing in there? ¿qué puede estar haciendo ahí?
      • it can't be true! ¡no puede ser!
      • you can't be serious! ¡me estás tomando el pelo!
      • 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 / 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 de lo más contenta
      • Just as easily as she could be annoying, she could turn around and be cute the next second.
      • Previous research has already indicated that vitamin C can do harm as well as good.
      • Make sure that the hole you put it into is wet as those little roots can dry out very fast.
      • In just six weeks he has learned that the internet can be an extremely useful tool for research.
      • In the early days after the birth, it can be useful to set aside some time to rest when the baby sleeps.
      • Even November in Florida could be hot, and that day was no exception.
      • Scotland have got some really useful forwards who can pose a threat to any side.
      • I think some knowledge can be highly destructive, and all too often in this game, it is.
      • A little adrenaline can be useful but stress is generally not healthy or helpful.
      • A rugby career only lasts so long, but friends you make can be useful in later life.
      • When group thinking manifests itself in the form of group knowledge, then it can be a good thing.
      • Inscriptions in public places can also indicate the social status of the artist.


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.

There are 2 main translations of can in Spanish

: can1can2


lata, n.

Pronunciation /kæn//kan/


  • 1

    • 1.1(container)

      lata feminine
      bote masculine Spain
      tarro masculine Chile
      a can of tomatoes una lata de tomates
      • a can of beer un bote de cerveza
      • a 4 gallon gasoline can un bidón de gasolina de 4 galones
      • a can of worms 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 pagar el pato
      • Empty bottles, cans and food containers are just chucked in the bushes and along the pavements, and while Belle Vue Gardens are being revamped the litter is thrown in there.
      • 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.
      • The waste matter for the blue bin includes papers, magazines, cardboard, food tins, aluminium drink cans, milk cartons and plastic bottles.
      • The relocating of the Bring Centre seems to have had the desired effect as much greater use is now being made of the containers to dispose of drink and food cans and clear brown and green glass.
      • Glass bottles and jars and aluminium drink cans should not be sent to landfill.
      • The emphasis on cans and metal containers has allowed the company to focus on more than just its information and manufacturing systems.
      • A bottle bank for all types of glass and a can bank for food tins and aluminium drink cans is situated beside the Industrial Units on Church Road.
      • Plans are finalised, paint cans and brushes lined up, and the cheerful clatter of harmless domestic activities continues.
      • This bag will take clean cardboard, drink cans, food cans, tetra pak, plastic bottles, newspapers, magazines and other paper.
      • Rusty paint cans and twisted pieces of metal crunched underfoot as I carefully ran the rope over top of the junk and around the side of a huge misshapen refrigerator.
      • Mix them together and pour the paint back into the cans.
      • Use old coffee cans for storing paint brushes and crayons.
      • Mr Hyndman showed the Bowles family that as well as paper, plastic, glass, metal cans and organic waste could also be recycled.
      • It's not like a screwdriver, which you at least can use to pry a paint can open.
      • The litter, plastic bags, food wrappers and cold drink and beer cans in front of the post office are still there.
      • Householders will not be expected to sort their aluminium and steel cans or different colours of glass.
      • Each student needs two metal cans with lids (a 5-gallon can and l-gallon can).
      • We could not afford to attend the local gyms, so we worked out in a garage with anything we could use as free weights, such as paint cans.
      • Similarly, beer and soft drink cans, booze bottles and empty jars can all be recycled.
      • There was a small crowd at the gate, with metal cans, who had come to collect milk.
      • It is made entirely of aluminum beer and soda cans, their labels badly bleached over the years by the intense Texas sun.
      • For example, one may think that recycling metal cans is important, but not recycle them because it takes too much time.
      • There are many recycling sites on supermarket car parks where you can recycle paper, steel cans, aluminium cans, clothes, and glass.
      • Beer bottles, soft drink cans, confetti, paper, food and other unmentionables coated the floor in a thick layer of debris.
      • Organic soups come in all different packaging - steel cans, aseptic cartons, glass jars and dried-soup cups.
      • Aluminum foil, beer and soft drink cans, paint tubes, and containers for home products are all made of aluminum alloys.
      • All kinds of plastic packaging, metal cans, and other rubbish entangle and strangle sea turtles, sea birds, sea lions and fish.
      • Cut open the loops on plastic binding which holds beer and soft drinks cans together so wildlife cannot get tangled up in them
      • He looked at the two of them, then looked at all the metal cans on the floor of the opposite side of the room, as well as the burn marks along the wall.
      • Epoxy-based coatings are frequently used as internal lacquer coatings of cans and storage vessels in the food industry.
      • Their prime customer, a manufacturer of metal cans, was delighted.
      • Recycling centre users are reminded that the facility is only to be used for glass and aluminium drink cans.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • All facilities consist of four banks where the public can deposit glass bottles and jars as well as aluminium drink cans for recycling.
      • Green, clear and brown glass, steel food cans and aluminium cans may be recycled at this venue.
      • The burglars made off with two 20-litre petrol cans and a welding machine.
      • The number of paint cans was unbelievable, and there were many different chemical compounds from oven cleaner to fertilizers, all free for the taking.
      • In the close confines, she tripped over some paint cans.
      • Because the oil-based paint comes in small cans and dries quickly, he can't mix or blend large amounts.

    • 1.2US (for garbage)

      cubo de la basura masculine
      tacho de la basura masculine Southern Cone
      bote de la basura masculine Mexico
      caneca de la basura feminine Colombia
      tobo de la basura masculine Venezuela

    • 1.3Cinema
      (for film)

      lata feminine
      to be in the can estar a la sombra informal
      • the contract's in the can tenemos el contrato en el bote

  • 2

    • 2.1(prison)

      cárcel feminine
      trullo masculine Spain slang
      cana feminine South America slang
      gayola feminine River Plate slang
      bote masculine Venezuela Mexico slang
      porotera feminine Chile slang
      to be in the can estar a la sombra informal
      • Robert faces a year in the can for drug money laundering despite claiming that he never realized his cousin was a drug-dealer.
      • Monty appears to have changed, but what will he be like after seven years in the can?
      • I do hope that she straightens out, but her actions merit real charges, and time in the can.
      • While he may not have a violent crime on record, he's spent plenty of time in the can for other offenses.
      • I felt badly about not telling her about the stretch of time I spent in the can, but she was probably better off not knowing.

    • 2.2(toilet)

      trono masculine informal

    • 2.3(buttocks)

      culo masculine informal vulgar slang
      trasero masculine informal

transitive verb

  • 1

    (put in cans)
  • 2US

    (fruit) preparar conservas de
  • 3

    echar informal
    correr informal
  • 4

    can it! ¡basta ya! informal