Question about PPS vs Presente

I was working through an exercise in Português em Foco and was surprised by a conjugation. See attached png, notable the (poorly drawn) red arrows.

The pre-amble indicates that at the end of the afternoon, the two friends meet in the street. Later, because one of them was tired, the other asked if she had gone to work that day. To me, the response would be in the PPS, because, (per the pre-amble, ) the event happened earlier that day. The answer key said to use the presente. Why?

My answers:
Caterina: Então hoje não vais trabalhar?
Carla: Claro que fui. Eu não pude faltar ao meu trabalho.

Answer key:
Caterina: Então hoje não vais trabalhar?
Carla: Claro que vou. Eu não posso faltar ao meu trabalho.

Because the dialogue told us that the conversation took place yesterday. Therefore they were talking in the present tense.

Hmm yeah, it’s confusing because even though they are talking about today, if the conversation takes place at the end of the afternoon, you would assume they are talking about the past (as in, “So you didn’t go to work today?”), implying that because she was up so late with her guests, it would have been difficult for her to get up for work earlier that morning.

Seems like an error to me, unless there’s an unusual use of the present tense here that I don’t know about. @Joseph :smile:?

My take was that while narrator was saying this encounter/conversation occurred yesterday, the two were talking about what had transpired earlier that day. Hence my expectation of the PPS.

The more I think about it, I could see Presente for the second (Posso), but not the 1st. Horrible rough translation to english:

“Of course I went… I can’t miss work.” Vs “Of course I went… I couldn’t miss work”

I have no doubt @Joseph will clarify all :slight_smile:

Yes, the dialogue itself wouldn’t need to be in the past tense, for the reason you’ve all already mentioned (it was a “live” conversation, despite having happened yesterday). But it would make perfect sense for those particular lines to be in the simple past, because at that point in time (late afternoon), I would have expected them to have finished their shifts already, unless Carla works late hours :smile: So, the answer key is grammatically correct, but doesn’t make sense with that timeline.

In any case, the question and the answer need to match tenses, at least in the first half, so your proposed answer would only be partially correct, @stephencanthony . My answers would be:
Catarina: Então, hoje não foste trabalhar?
Carla: Claro que fui! Eu não posso * faltar ao meu trabalho.

*Why posso and not pude? Both are grammatically correct here, but pude is focused on this particular day, while posso clearly says that, as a general rule, she can’t miss work just because she’s tired. To me, it fits better, especially after her initial exclamation - as if the idea of missing work just for that reason were preposterous.

This is what I finally realized as well. Fui and Posso.

Many thanks for your clarifications.