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Je peux or je puis

So I have been wondering about this for a while. There are two ways of saying 'I can' in French, there is 'Je peux' and there is 'Je puis' I was wondering if there are certain contexts in which you use each of the,. If you know anything please let me know.

Au revoir mes amies!

July 11, 2017



"Je puis" is never used except in old literature (from at least about one century ago, maybe more) but when speaking formally we still use "Puis-je?" in the interrogative form because you can't say "Peux-je?".
However the interrogative form is often just implied by the intonation of your voice when speaking or by the question mark when writing.
So you would usually just say: "Je peux?"


Si je parle sur un ton informel, est bonne dire "Peux je"? Merci beaucoup!

(Please correct my noobie French! I'll appreciate it!)



Or 'Est-ce que je peux ?'


Is this the same for "tu peux" / "puis-tu"?


No, this is only a peculiarity of the first person singular.
You say/write:
Tu peux. Il peut. Peux-tu? Peut-il? Tu peux? Il peut? Est-ce que tu peux? Est-ce qu'il peut?


OK... so I think I get it, but please correct me if i'm wrong :) "Puis-je" is kind of like saying "may I" and so the word "puis" like "may" has connotations of requesting permission so it would be weird to say "I may do something " as a statement (not asking), when it is better to just say "I can" or "I am able to do something". Or am I getting the completely wrong idea :)


I think the latter is more formal/bookish.


dude, the number of languages, my god...


You would say puis-je? instead of peux-je?, but you would always say je peux and never je puis. Je puisse, however, is the present subjunctive form of je peux.


I would not say 'never' about 'je puis'. For instance, 'je puis vous assurer que...' is formal but not obsolete.


When does this show up in Duolingo lessons? I really feel like I should have known this by now.

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