Quick answer
"Can" is an auxiliary verb which is often translated as "poder", and "to" is a preposition which is often translated as "a". Learn more about the difference between "can" and "to" below.
can(
kahn
)
An auxiliary verb, or helper verb, is a conjugated verb that comes before a main verb and determines the main verb's tense, mood, or aspect (e.g. I have gone.).
1. (used to indicate ability)
a. poder
I can run five miles in an hour.Puedo correr cinco millas en una hora.
b. saber
I can cook Italian food too.También sé cocinar comida italiana.
2. (used to ask permission)
a. poder
Can I go out with Jennifer on Friday night?¿Puedo salir con Jennifer el viernes por la noche?
3. (used to indicate possibility)
a. poder
If you like, you can have the salad with the dressing on the side.Si desea, puede pedir la ensalada con el aderezo al lado.
4. (with verbs of perception)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I can't tell if it's going to rain or snow.No sé si va a llover o nevar.
I couldn't see because of the brightness of that light.No veía por culpa del resplandor de esa luz.
A noun is a word referring to a person, animal, place, thing, feeling or idea (e.g. man, dog, house).
5. (container)
a. la lata
(f) means that a noun is feminine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
There are about 140 calories in one can of soda.Una lata de refresco tiene unas 140 calorías.
b. el bote
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
Do you think one can of paint will be enough for the whole room?¿Crees que con un bote de pintura nos llega para toda la habitación?
6.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(toilet)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. el baño
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
I rushed to the can but it was occupied.Corrí al baño pero estaba ocupado.
7. (fuel container)
a. el bidón
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
Packing an empty gas can in your trunk is wise.Llevar un bidón de gasolina vacío en el maletero es inteligente.
8.
A very informal word or phrase used by a particular group or community as a substitute for standard language (e.g. joint, john).
(slang)
(prison)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. la chirona
(f) means that a noun is feminine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
A very informal word or phrase used by a particular group or community as a substitute for standard language (e.g. joint, john).
(slang)
They threw him in the can for armed robbery.Lo tiraron a la chirona por robo armado.
9.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(buttocks)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. el culo
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Rob deserves a good kick in the can for that.Rob se merece una buena patada en el culo por eso.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
10. (to preserve by sealing)
a. enlatar
She usually cans vegetables for the homeless every December.Suele enlatar verduras para la gente sin hogar cada diciembre.
11.
A very informal word or phrase used by a particular group or community as a substitute for standard language (e.g. joint, john).
(slang)
(to fire)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. poner de patitas en la calle
A very informal word or phrase used by a particular group or community as a substitute for standard language (e.g. joint, john).
(slang)
My boss canned me for reading comics at work.El jefe me puso de patitas en la calle por leer cómics en el trabajo.
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to(
tu
)
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (used to indicate direction)
a. a
I'm going to your house.Voy a tu casa.
b. hacia
She walked to the woods.Caminó hacia el bosque.
2. (as far as)
a. hasta
I would run to your house right now just to see you!¡Correría hasta tu casa ahora mismo solo para verte!
3. (in order to)
a. a
I just came to say hello.Solo vine a saludar.
4. (used to indicate belonging)
a. de
All of those books belonged to my grandfather.Todos estos libros eran de mi abuelo.
5. (used to tell the time)
a. menos
It is a quarter to six.Son las seis menos cuarto.
6. (used to indicate proportion or range)
a. por
The birth ratio is 107 boys to 100 girls.La proporción de nacimientos es de 107 niños por 100 niñas.
7. (in comparisons)
a. a
Variable A is greater or equal to variable B.La variable A es mayor o igual a la variable B.
8. (resulting in)
a. para
To my surprise, he did not recognize me.Para mi sorpresa, él no me reconoció.
9. (in toasts)
a. por
Here's to the birthday girl! Cheers!¡Por la cumpleañera! ¡Salud!
10. (used to indicate position)
a. a
Turn to the left to exit.Gira a la izquierda para salir.
11. (infinitive particle)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I learned to drive when I was 17.Aprendí a manejar a los 17 años.
We need to work faster.Tenemos que trabajar más rápido.
12. (used in place of a verb)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I didn't want to tell you but I felt I had to.No quería decírtelo pero me vi obligada a hacerlo.
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.Es mi fiesta y lloraré si quiero.
Copyright © Curiosity Media Inc.
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