Poder conjugation

Poder Conjugation | How to Conjugate Poder in Spanish

Maria Claudia Alvarado Published on June 27, 2023

¡Hola! ¿Puedes hablar español? In this article, I will show you all the conjugations for the Spanish verb poder. You’ll learn how to conjugate poder in different tenses and see some sentence examples that will help you practice.

The verb poder means “can” or “to be able to” in Spanish. You can use poder to ask someone for the time (“¿Puedes darme la hora?”) or to tell them about something you can do (“Puedo hablar inglés”).  Poder is an irregular verb, which means that it doesn’t follow the usual rules of grammar. Instead, you will need to learn each of its conjugated forms. 

The table below shows three common conjugations for the verb poder: the infinitive, the gerund, and the past particle.

poder conjugation table

Here are three example sentences that use the conjugations of poder from the table above:

  • Infinitive: Es importante poder entender otros idiomas. (It is important to be able to understand other languages.)
  • Gerund: Pudiendo decírlo, decidió no hacerlo. (Being able to say it, he decided not to.)
  • Past Participle: Habiendo podido viajar por tren, prefirió tomar un bus. (Having been able to travel by train, he decided to ride the bus.)

Now you understand the meaning of poder and know how to conjugate its infinitive, gerund, and past participle forms. Next, we will look at poder in all of its different tenses. Click on the table below to see the verb poder conjugated in each specific tense. 

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How to Conjugate Poder in Indicative Tense

In Spanish, the indicative mood is used to talk about facts, habits, or descriptions. Since it can be used to describe factual events in the present, past, or future, knowing its tenses can help you express yourself fluently. Below, we will see the 5 different tenses for the indicative mood: present, future, preterite, imperfect, and conditional.

Indicative Present

The indicative present tense is used to talk about actions that take place in the present or in the near future. You can also use it to make a true statement. With poder, you can use its indicative present conjugations to talk about things you can do or are possible in the present. For example, you could say “Puede que llueva hoy” which means “It could rain today.” 

Scroll down to take a look at the table with the indicative present conjugations for poder.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopuedoI can
puedesYou can
VospodésYou can
Él/Ella/UstedpuedeHe/She/You can
NosotrospodemosWe can
VosotrospodéisYou can
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespuedenThey/You can 

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the indicative present tense:

  • Yo puedo leer rápido. / I can read quickly.
  • Nosotros podemos cocinar la cena. / We can cook dinner.
  • Ellos pueden hablar italiano. / They can speak Italian.

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Indicative Future

In Spanish, we use the indicative future tense to talk about things that will happen. In this case, you can use the poder verb conjugation for indicative future to refer to things you will able to do in the future. For example, you could say “Yo podré aprender español pronto” which means, “I will be able to learn Spanish soon.”

Scroll down to see the poder ver conjugation chart for the indicative future tense.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopodréI will be able to
podrásYou will be able to
VospodrásYou will be able to
Él/Ella/UstedpodráHe/She/You will be able to
NosotrospodremosWe will be able to
VosotrospodréisYou will be able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespodránThey/You will be able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the indicative future tense:

  • Nosotros podremos vernos pronto. / We will be able to see each other soon.
  • Tú no podrás hablar japonés sin estudiar. / You won’t be able to speak Japanese without studying.
  • Ellos podrán comprar una casa en dos años. / They will be able to buy a house in two years.

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Indicative Preterite

The indicative preterite is used to talk about actions completed in the past. You can use the poder preterite conjugation to tell people about things you were able to do at a certain point in time or in a specific place. For example, “Pude ver las estrellas desde la casa de campo” which means, “I was able to see the stars from the country house.”

Below, you will find the indicative preterite conjugation chart for the verb poder:

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopudeI was able to
pudisteYou were able to
VospudisteYou were able to 
Él/Ella/UstedpudoHe/She/You were able to
NosotrospudimosWe were able to
VosotrospudisteisYou were able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespudieronThey/You were able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the indicative preterite tense:

  • Ella pudo llamar a su mamá hace días. / She was able to call her mother days ago.
  • Ellos pudieron tomar el tren desde la estación de Berna. / They were able to take the train from the Bern station.
  • Vos pudiste pasar más tiempo con ella antes. / You were able to spend more time with her back then.

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Indicative Imperfect

The indicative imperfect is a past tense used to talk about things that used to happen. In the case of the verb poder, you can use its indicative imperfect conjugation to talk about things that you commonly did or happened in the past. For example, you could say “Tu podías beber una soda por cinco centavos” which means, “You used to be able to drink a soda for five cents.”

Let’s look at the indicative imperfect conjugation chart for poder below:

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopodíaI used to be able to
podíasYou used to be able to
VospodíasYou used to be able to
Él/Ella/UstedpodíaHe/She/You used to be able to
NosotrospodíamosWe used to be able
VosotrospodíaisYou used to be able
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespodíanThey/You used to be able

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the indicative imperfect tense:

  • Usted podía saltar la cuerda. / You used to be able to jump rope.
  • Ellos podían cantar Blues.  / They used to be able to sing Blues.
  • Nosotros podíamos viajar todos los años. / We used to be able to travel every year.

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Indicative Conditional

One of the most common uses for the indicative conditional tense is to talk about things you wish will happen or have a chance of happening in the future. It’s used to talk about probabilities, chances, and hypotheses. The poder indicative conditional conjugations also help you to talk about things you think you will be able to do in the future. For example, you could say “Nosotros podríamos viajar a Roma” which means, “We would be able to travel to Rome.”

Below, you will find the indicative conditional conjugation chart for the verb poder.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopodríaI would be able to
podríasYou would be able to
VospodríasYou would be able to
Él/Ella/UstedpodríaHe/She/You would be able to
NosotrospodríamosWe would be able to
VosotrospodríaisYou would be able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespodríanThey/You would be able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the indicative conditional tense:

  • Ustedes podrían ahorrar dinero. / You would be able to save money.
  • podrías ir a casa en Navidad. / You would be able to go home for Christmas.
  • Vosotros podríais hablar muchos idiomas. / You would be able to speak many languages.

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How to Conjugate Poder in Perfect Tense

The perfect tense is used to talk about past events that have an influence on the present. It is a compound tense that uses the auxiliary verb haber (have) and the past participle of the verb. We’ll cover these perfect tenses: present, future, past, conditional, and preterite.

Present Perfect

You can use the present perfect to talk about the current state of past events that were completed in the past. It can also be used to reference events or activities that started in the past but are still relevant in the present. For example, you could say “Ellos han podido graduarse de la universidad” which means, “They have been able to graduate from college.”

Scroll down to see the present perfect conjugation chart for the verb poder.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohe podidoI have been able to
has podidoYou have been able to
Voshas podidoYou have been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedha podidoHe/She/You have been able to
Nosotroshemos podidoWe have been able to
Vosotroshabéis podidoYou have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshan podidoThey/You have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the present perfect tense:

  • Ellos han podido llamarme. / They have been able to call me.
  • has podido decírmelo antes. / You have been able to tell me beforehand.
  • Yo he podido pagar mi deuda. / I have been able to pay my debt.

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Future Perfect

The future perfect tense is used to express actions that will be completed before a certain time in the future. This is why the future perfect is also called “antefuturo” (before the future). You can use the auxiliary verb haber plus the past participle of poder to refer to things you will be able to do before a specific time or date. For example, you could say “Para el martes, habré podido terminar mi tarea” which means, “I will have been able to finish my homework before Tuesday.”

Let’s look at the future perfect conjugation chart for poder.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohabré podidoI will have been able to
habrás podidoYou will have been able to
Voshabrás podidoYou will have been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhabrá podidoHe/She/You will have been able to
Nosotroshabrémos podidoWe will have been able to
Vosotroshabréis podidoYou will have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshabrán podidoThey/You will have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the future perfect tense:

  • Ella habrá podido ganar el premio para entonces. / She will have been able to win the prize by then.
  • Antes de las 3 P.M., nosotros habrémos podido hablar con el agente. / We will have been able to talk to the agent before 3 P.M.
  • Vos habrás aprendido a bailar salsa para Marzo. / You will have been able to learn how to dance salsa by March.

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Past Perfect (Pluperfect)

The past perfect, or pluperfect, tense is used to talk about actions that have or have not happened at some point in the past. You can also use it to talk about unrealized wishes, desires, or possibilities in the past. It is commonly used in conditional sentences with conjunctions like “if” or “when.”

Scroll down to see the past perfect poder conjugation chart. 

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohubiera podidoI had been able to
hubieras podidoYou had been able to
Voshubieras podidoYou had been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhubiera podidoHe/She/You had been able to
Nosotroshubiéramos podidoWe had been able to
Vosotroshubiérais podidoYou had been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshubieran podidoThey/You had been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the past perfect tense:

  • Esperaba que él hubiera podido venir ayer. / I hoped he had been able to come yesterday.
  • Si hubieras podido escucharlo, lo sabrías. / If you had been able to listen to him, you would know.
  • Nosotros hubiéramos podido tomar el vuelo de haber salido antes. / We had been able to take the flight if we had left earlier.

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Conditional Perfect

We use the conditional perfect to talk about possibilities, opinions, or theories. It helps us to make hypotheses about what could have or should have been. It can also be used to create theories about the future.

Below, you will find the conditional perfect poder conjugation chart.

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohabría podidoI would have been able to
habrías podidoYou would have been able to
Voshabrías podidoYou would have been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhabría podidoHe/She/You would have been able to
Nosotroshabríamos podidoWe would have been able to
Vosotroshabríais podidoYou would have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshabrían podidoThey/You would have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the conditional perfect tense:

  • Ellos habrían podido casarse en Mayo. / They would have been able to get married in May.
  • Nosotros habríamos podido convertirnos en mejores amigos. / We would have been able to become best friends.
  • Usted habría podido pasar el exámen sin problemas. / You would have been able to pass the exam without a problem.

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Preterite Perfect (Past Anterior)

The preterite perfect is used to talk about events that happened before other events in the past. Keep in mind that this conjugation is no longer used in modern Spanish, and is often replaced by the present perfect tense. You can still find this conjugation in old literature, so it’s worth learning this form.  

 Let’s look at the poder preterite perfect conjugation chart below:

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YoHube podidoI have been able to
Hubiste podidoYou have been able to
VosHubiste podidoYou have been able to
Él/Ella/UstedHubo podidoHe/She/You have been able to
NosotrosHubimos podidoWe have been able to
VosotrosHubisteis podidoYou have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedesHubieron podidoThey/You have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the past perfect tense:

  • Yo hube podido solucionar el problema antes del fin de semana. / I have been able to solve the problem before the weekend.
  • Nosotros hubimos podido terminar de pintar antes del atardecer. / We have been able to finish painting before sundown.
  • Usted hubo podido llegar al teatro antes de que empezara la función. / You have been able to arrive at the theater before the show started.

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How to Conjugate Poder in Subjunctive Tense

The subjunctive tense is used to describe situations or ideas that are subjective. This means that rather than talking about facts, we use the subjunctive tense to talk about emotions, theories, or intentions. The subjunctive mood includes present, future, and imperfect subjunctive tenses.

Present Subjunctive

We use the present subjunctive to talk about emotions, wishes, and hopes. It’s also used to talk about hypotheses, plans, or intentions. For example, you could say “Quizás yo pueda ayudar” which means, “Maybe I am able to help.”

Scroll down to see the present subjunctive conjugation chart for poder

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopuedaI am able to
puedasYou are able to
VospuedasYou are able to
Él/Ella/UstedpuedaHe/She/You are able to
NosotrospodamosWe are able to
VosotrospodáisYou are able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespuedanThey/You are able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the present subjunctive tense:

  • Aunque pueda nadar, no significa que no me cansaré en el mar. / Even though I am able to swim, it doesn’t mean I won’t get tired at sea.
  • Vamos a donde nosotros podamos ver las estrellas. / Let’s go where we are able to see the stars.
  • Quizás vosotros podáis convencer al presidente. / Maybe you will be able to convince the president.

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Future Subjunctive

The future subjunctive is used to talk about hypothetical situations that might happen in the future. In the case of the verb poder, it is used to talk about things you might be able to do in the future. This verb tense is no longer used in modern Spanish, but you might run into it in old literature or legal texts. 

Scroll down to see the future subjunctive conjugation chart for poder

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
YopudiereI will be able to
pudieresYou will be able to
VospudieresYou will be able to
Él/Ella/UstedpudiereHe/She/You will be able to
NosotrospudiéremosWe will be able to
VosotrospudiéreisYou will be able to
Ellos/Ellas/ UstedespudierenThey/You will be able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the future subjunctive tense:

  • Ella pudiere regresar a casa. / She will be able to come home.
  • Yo pudiere escribir muchos libros en unos años. / I will be able to write many books in a couple of years.
  • Ustedes pudieren ser más comprensivos en el futuro. / You will be able to be more understanding in the future.

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Imperfect Subjunctive

We use the imperfect subjunctive to talk about unlikely events in the past. It can also be used to express opinions or feelings about something that happened in the past. However, with the verb poder, we will use it to talk about something that could have been had if an event or task had been completed in the past. You will often see the imperfect subjunctive conjugation of poder accompanied by the conditional “if.”

Let’s take a look at the imperfect subjunctive conjugation table for poder

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yopudiera/ pudieseI were able to
pudieras/ pudiesesYou were able to
Vospudieras/ pudiesesYou were able to
Él/Ella/Ustedpudiera/ pudieseHe/She/You were able to
Nosotrospudiéramos/ pudiesemosWe were able to
Vosotrospudierais/ pudieseisYou were able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedespudieran/ pudiesenThey/You were able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the imperfect subjunctive tense:

  • Si tu pudieras dejar de mentir, no tendrías problemas. / If you were able to stop lying, you wouldn’t have problems.
  • Si vos pudieras cantar, serías una estrella. / If you were able to sing, you would be a star.
  • Si yo pudiera ganarme la lotería, sería feliz. / If I were able to win the lottery, I would be happy.

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How to Conjugate Poder in Perfect Subjunctive Tense

The perfect subjunctive mood is used to convey uncertainty or to express wish or hope. It’s used to talk about past actions connected to the future or present that may or may not have happened. To conjugate poder in the perfect subjunctive, you need the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle conjugation of poder (podido). We’ll cover the following perfect subjunctive tenses: present, future, and pluperfect. 

Present Perfect Subjunctive

The present perfect subjunctive is used to talk about past actions or events that are connected or still relevant to the present. It can also help us describe things that will happen at a certain point in the future. With poder, you can use it to express things or events you wish have taken or will take place, but aren’t sure about. 

Here is the present perfect subjunctive conjugation chart for the verb poder.  

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohaya podidoI have been able to
hayas podidoYou have been able to
Voshayas podidoYou have been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhaya podidoHe/She/You have been able to
Nosotroshayamos podidoWe have been able to
Vosotroshayáis podidoYou have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshayan podidoThey/You have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the present perfect subjunctive tense:

  • Espero que hayas podido encontrar la respuesta. / I hope you have been able to find the answer.
  • No creo que ellos hayan podido saltar dos metros. / I don’t think they have been able to jump two meters.
  • Que vosotros hayáis podido lograrlo una vez ya es asombroso. / That you have been able to succeed once is already awesome.  

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Future Perfect Subjunctive

The future perfect subjunctive is rarely used in Spanish and is often replaced by the past or present perfect subjunctive tenses. It is used to talk about events that will have happened at a specific point in the future. In the case of the verb poder, the future perfect subjunctive is used to describe actions you will have been able to complete in the future.

Let’s look at the future perfect subjunctive conjugation table for poder below: 

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohubiere podidoI will have been able to
hubieres podidoYou will have been able to
Voshubieres podidoYou will have been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhubiere podidoHe/She/You will have been able to
Nosotroshubiéremos podidoWe will have been able to
Vosotroshubiereis podidoYou will have been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshubieren podidoThey/You will have been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the future perfect subjunctive tense:

  • Ellos hubieren podido ir a la colina entonces. / They will have been able to go to the hill then.
  • Vos hubieres podido cocinar el martes. / You will have been able to cook on Tuesday.
  • Nosotros hubieremos podido acompañarlo.  / We will have been able to go with him.

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Pluperfect Subjunctive

The pluperfect subjunctive is used to talk about events or actions that happened before other actions in the past. You can also use it to express wishes and desires or to create theories about the past. In the case of the verb poder, it is used to describe things you wish you had been able to do.

Scroll down to see the pluperfect subjunctive conjugation table for poder.   

PronounPoder ConjugationEnglish Meaning
Yohubiera/ hubiese podidoI had been able to
hubieras/ hubieses podidoYou had been able to
Voshubieras/ hubieses podidoYou had been able to
Él/Ella/Ustedhubiera/ hubiese podidoHe/She/You had been able to
Nosotroshubiéramos/ hubiésemos podidoWe had been able to
Vosotroshubierais/ hubieseis podidoYou had been able to
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedeshubieran/ hubiesen podidoThey/You had been able to

Here are some example sentences showing how to conjugate poder in the pluperfect subjunctive tense:

  • Nosotros hubiéramos podido ver la película antes si hubiésemos venido más temprano. / We would have been able to see the movie before if we had come earlier.
  • Si vos hubieras podido pintar, serías un artista. / If you had been able to paint, you would be an artist.
  • Me alegró que ellos hubieran ganado la competencia. / I was happy they had been able to win the competition.

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How to Conjugate Poder in the Imperative Tense

In Spanish, we use the imperative tense to give commands, orders, advice, or to assert someone’s ability to complete an action. To use the imperative tense in a negative form, we add “no” instead of “don’t.” In the table below, we will introduce you to the affirmative and negative imperative conjugations for poder.

PronounPoder Conjugation (Affirmative)Poder Conjugation (Negative)English Meaning
¡puede!¡no puedas!Be/Don’t be able to!
Vos¡podé!¡no puedas!/¡podás!Be/Don’t be able to!
Él/Ella/Usted¡puedas!¡no pueda!Be/Don’t be able to!
Nosotros¡podamos!no podamos!Be/Don’t be able to!
Vosotros¡poded!¡no podáis!Be/Don’t be able to!
Ellos/Ellas/ Ustedes¡puedan!¡no puedan!Be/Don’t be able to!

Although it’s possible to conjugate poder in the imperative, it’s not really used in this tense. Some verbs in Spanish can’t be used in the imperative tense because it doesn’t sound natural to tell someone “¡Puede!,” since we would be telling them “Be able to!”

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Tips for Conjugating Poder Correctly

Exposing yourself to the way Spanish is spoken in real life is a great way to learn how to conjugate verbs and become familiar with colloquial language. One of the best ways to practice is by speaking with a Spanish native speaker or listening to authentic Spanish conversations or media. Conjugating irregular verbs in Spanish can seem hard, but with consistent practice, you will master them before you know it. 

Here are some common expressions you can practice to learn how to conjugate poder. “¿Se puede?” which means “Am I allowed to?” is used to ask permission to enter a room or grab someone’s belongings (or food). “Hasta más no poder” which would literally mean “Until I am no longer able” is another common phrase used to imply that you will keep trying until you run out of energy.

Ways to Practice Conjugating Poder

The verb poder is frequently used in Spanish, so it’s important to know how to conjugate it properly. There are many ways to learn Spanish, but you will only retain and see progress if you are consistent in your practice. You can use resources like Spanish apps to take quick lessons when you have a spare moment or to find a language exchange partner. Spanish books provide extensive grammar explanations, writing exercises, and examples to help you understand the language. Finally, online Spanish courses offer comprehensive lessons that can include multimedia elements or get you a personal tutor to guide you through your learning journey.

Poder Conjugation FAQ

How do you conjugate the verb poder?

To conjugate the verb poder, you first need to decide the tense and tone for the idea you want to convey. The verb poder is an irregular stem-changing verb, which means that it doesn’t follow the regular verb conjugation patterns. The first part of the stem “po-” remains the same in most of its forms. In the present tense, however, you will see that the “-o-” in the stem can change to “-ue-” for all pronouns except “nosotros”. In the future tense, the stem of poder changes to “podr-” followed by the future ending necessary for the conjugation.

What is the past tense of poder?

The most common poder past tense conjugations are the preterite (“yo pude”) and the imperfect (“yo podía”) tenses. The less common tenses for the verb poder are the future perfect (“habré podido”) and conditional perfect (“habría podido”) tenses. 

What verb is pudiendo?

Pudiendo is the gerund conjugation for the verb poder. It means “being able to” and is used to express ongoing actions or events. You can also use it to express doubt. For example, you can say “¿Seguiremos pudiendo viajar en el 2024?” which means “¿Will we still be able to travel in 2024?” 

What does the verb poder mean?

The verb poder means “can” or “to be able to.” It is used to describe the ability to do something. Poder can also be used to ask for permission. 

Maria Claudia Alvarado

Maria Alvarado is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She graduated from the Savannah College of Arts and Design in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing. She is fluent in Spanish and English, has intermediate knowledge of French and German, and is learning Japanese. She hopes to bring consciousness about the importance of language learning through her articles and aspires to learn as many languages as possible.

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