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"Puis-je payer avec ma carte ?"

Translation:Can I pay with my card?

February 16, 2013



why is it not peux-je payer avec ma carte?


This is an exception where peux becomes "puis" at the interrogative form: "puis-je" (most certainly for pronounciation reasons).


But is "Je peux payer avec ma carte?" allowed?


This is exactly what people say: informal and casual (and voice raising at the end of the sentence)


Does this mean that we use peux-je when talking solely about ability eg "Peux-je le faire ? Oui, je peux.", but we use puis-je when asking for permission? As a child I remember being regularly reproached with "'May I?', not 'Can I?'!" Is the same true with French? Is puis-je "sloppy" French?


This means that the French never say "peux-je".

  • puis-je le faire ? oui, tu peux = may I do it? yes you may.

If you want to stick to the first meaning of "can" (ability):

  • suis-je capable de le faire? oui, tu en es capable = can I do it? yes you can / am I able to do it? yes you are.


Many thanks for the clarification. Puis-je is included as an example in the Tips & Notes on Questions, but there is no explanation on its usage. Thanks for filling the hole. If I ever get to grips with this language, it'll be as much through your efforts as mine...


My French teacher told us that the French rarely use inversion in first person singular, like suis-je, as it comes out a bit too poetic, stiff, highbrow. Is that true?



This is why Duolingo teaches you the standard and informal forms of questions as well.


It is the same for all inversions.

"puis-je" is usually replaced with "est-ce que je peux ?" or "je peux ?".


is this only applicable only to "je"? or all conjugation of "pouvoir" at interrogative form completely changes?


As I said, "puis-je" is used instead of "peux-je" for pronunciation issues.

With other conjugation persons, this issue does not arise so the usual conjugation is used: peux-tu, peut-il/elle/on, pouvons-nous, pouvez-vous, peuvent-ils/elles ?


Are there any other verbs that act like this?


Yes, "vouloir", for instance. We don't say "veux-je", but there is no other alternative than "est-ce que je veux".


why is "can i pay with my credit card" not correct? is "my card" not the same as "my credit card"?

Interesting discussion on this topic that I found very informative: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/carte-de-cr%C3%A9dit-ou-carte-bancaire.279368/


I wouldn't regard them as being the same.

In Australia we have different cards which we can use to pay for things:

Credit card - a bank account, which uses the bank's money to pay for the goods.

Debit card - a card which acts like a credit card, but uses your money from your bank account (it works like a VISA card, and you can use Paywave)

Savings (EFTPOS) card - a card which uses your money, but does not act like a credit card (you can't use it like a VISA card)

Rewards card - you accumulate "points" on your card from purchases, and when you have enough points, you can redeem them at the card vendor's nominated outlets. Often associated with airlines, large department stores, etc.

Gift card - various supermarkets / shopping centres have these - you buy a card with a nominated amount (eg. $20, $50 etc.) or nominate the value you want to put on the card, and these can be used at nominated locations.

If you waved any of these at the person you're trying to pay, they'd immediately recognise it and tell you whether you could use it or not (so you don't have to say "credit card", "gift card" etc.)

If you didn't flash the card at them, you'd have to specify "Can I use my credit card?" / "Can I use my gift card?" etc.


The same cards are available in France as well.

To be noted: French people misuse "ma carte de crédit" to mean "ma carte bancaire" ( = debit card).


My question is whether or not there is another French verb that differentiates "May I" from "Can I" ? My mother would have corrected me in my (American) English if I had asked her "Can I ride my bike?" rather than "May I ride my bike?" Her point was that in English "can" implies the ability, whereas "may" was the polite way to ask her permission. I translated the French sentence with "May I pay with my card?" Duo gave me the green check. I preferred "May I?" here because I imagined I was speaking to a shopkeeper in France. "Can I?" would then be determined by the issuer of the card with either an "accepted" or "declined". Well, in spite of myself, I have descended into creating "clutter". I did read the other posts and don't think my question was addressed previously by others. Latin was my favorite language in high school. It really loved it.


If you add "s'il te plaît", then "puis-je/est-ce que je peux" is obviously a "may I".

With "je/I", anyway, questioning your own abilities is not something that happens very often and you are the best one to give yourself an answer, in most cases.

The choice between "être capable de" and "être autorisé(e) à" is a good option anyway if you have any doubt about "pouvoir".


I think I understand. Pouvoir, though it is more often translated to English with the "can", has nothing to do with ability. It is for either asking permission, or questioning someone's availability to do whatever in a polite enough way. Am I on the right track?
Thanks for the options above regarding capability. BTW - - questioning my own abilities happens quite often in my head.


Yes, you have well understood, "pouvoir" is broad in meaning and usage. This is why we have plenty of alternative verbal phrases for when we want to be more accurate in meaning:

  • être en mesure de faire (Larousse: avoir la possibilité de faire quelque chose : Je suis en mesure de vous fournir des preuves).
  • être à même de (same as above)
  • avoir la capacité de faire (to be capable of or able to)
  • avoir l'aptitude à (ability/skills) / la faculté de (aptitude/capability)
  • avoir le droit de / la permission de / la possibilité de (may)


Isn't peut-être a derivative of pouvoir, which means maybe?


Is there any relation between "puis" the form of pouvoir and "puis" which means "then", or are the two unrelated?


They are unrelated.

"puis" is the old French of what has become "peux".

The form "puis-je ?" is the only survivor and it is conveniently used to avoid the ugly "peux-je"


My French professor told me "puis-je" and "pourrais-je" are considered archaic and aren't used anymore, and that she got made fun of for using them in France her first time visiting. Can you confirm this?


I use them both and nobody has ever laughed at me for doing so (who laughs at well educated people?)


It depends on the context. "Puis-je" isn't something one would commonly use in an informal setting, and the same goes for "pourrais-je." They aren't archaic, just more formal.


Is there a reason why this is in adverbs? I'm just curious if there's some sort of adverb thing at work.


The reason is as follows: the person who entered that sentence in the system tagged the word "puis" as an adverb, that it can also be (then, afterwards...).


i have been told that in france cash is rarely an option and mostly cards are used - for everything


I use cash all the time in france and it's never been turned down.


Is "puis-je" always pronouncef with the final "e" dropped, i.e. as [pɥiʒ]?


Since "payer" starts with a consonant sound, you can hear some French people pronouncing "je" as "juh".


Sir, that's a two of clubs...


Why the pronounciation of carte like cartah?Is this correct?


It is not "cartah" it is "cartuh", when an otherwise mute -e is pronounced.

It is the French schwa: https://frenchcrazy.com/2013/04/the-french-schwa.html/


why not: "May I pay with my credit card?"


"May I pay with my credit card?" Now, what.ia wrong with that?

  • 2077

Nothing really unless one is going to go strictly pedantic. The expression would certainly be understood as "credit card". In context, only a stringent, literal approach would not understand that "carte" refers to carte de crédit.


Should this not be - "May I pay with my card?" Can being physically capable of while may asks permission?

  • 2077

"May I" is perfectly acceptable here--even preferred. The discussions ranging into the realm of "am I capable of", etc., are a bit over the edge in terms of the obvious context.

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