"Can I drink wine?"
Translation:Puis-je boire du vin ?
Why is the correct translation" Puis-je ... " instead of "Peux-je ..."?
If you pronounce PUHJ, you may realize it is difficult to decipher.
At least that is what was decided by the Academy a long time ago.
I put "le vin" instead of "du vin" because I thought the definite article could be used to express a generality. If I use "du vin" I thought it translated to "some wine", rather than the general "I can drink wine." This is confusing me immensely - every time I think I have it, it seems I'm wrong again. HELP!
Initially, "je puis" was the standard form in old French and with time, it has become "je peux". However, the "puis" form has been kept for the interrogative, inverted form "puis-je" for purely phonetic reasons, because "peux-je" is quite inaudible.
Est-ce que je peux boire du vin?
Worked for me. Is this the most polite way to ask the sentence (minus the s.v.p)?
Why is it more polite to ask "Est-ce que je peux boire du vin?" instead of "Puis-je boire du vin?"
"puis-je boire du vin ?" is similar to "est-ce que..." in terms of politeness, but the former is more formal, a bit "old school", so less usual.
So peux-je isn't wrong, just less common? I know on previous exercises i tried puis-je and was marked incorrect, hence why i used peux-je this time.
As an American, NONE OF IT sounds right to me! It sounds more like just another French language "wierdness" to confuse us, certainly it doesn't make any practical sense! I sure am glad Sitesurf is with us to help keep us from drowning out here, Mr. Owl sure isn't going to throw us a life jacket! :-) :-(
It's interesting that if you just make the statement, "je peux boire du vin", it is counted as correct, but if you reverse those two words it is not.... doesn't make any PRACTICAL sense at all! Plus, it's ALL hard to pronounce (judging from our teacher's pronunciation, who you CANNOT understand much of the time)!
It is just a matter of phonetic efficacy: "je peux" is easy to say, but "peux-je" is extremely difficult to utter and to understand.
Therefore, you have to learn the convention that "peux-je" does not work and must be replaced by "puis-je" within the formal register.