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"Can I drink wine?"

Translation:Puis-je boire du vin ?

March 10, 2013

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/johan.martenson

Why is the correct translation" Puis-je ... " instead of "Peux-je ..."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"peux-je" is always replaced by "puis-je" because of the sound of it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/prky
  • 457

What do you mean, "because of the sound of it?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djbrubacher

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ProfesorAntonnio

I never learned "puis-je" at school! That's quite weird.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S0R0USH

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)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

That is the more polite and usual way of asking that question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yang.kimmy

Why is it more polite to ask "Est-ce que je peux boire du vin?" instead of "Puis-je boire du vin?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Boydus01

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Again: peux-je is not in use because it does not sound right.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JagMicker1

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! :-) :-(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JagMicker1

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)!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

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.

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