"Je peux prendre ta montre ?"

Translation:Can I take your watch?

March 16, 2013

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A very polite mugger's expression!


It must be a canadian mugger.


I was listening and heard it as a statement. My thought was exactly "is this a mugging"?


Would "Est-ce que je peux montre ta montre" also be correct? I wouldn't necessarily use "Je peux prendre ta montre" as a form of question. Any thoughts?


there are 3 ways to ask such questions, from very formal to casual:

  • "puis-je prendre ta montre ?"
  • "est-ce que je peux prendre ta montre ?"
  • "je peux prendre ta montre ?"


Three questions; 1. Do those bullet points run from most formal to casual? 2. Why is 'pouvoir' conjugated as 'puis-je' in the first and 'je peux' in the last? 3. Would the top bullet point be made more formal by using 'votre' than 'ta'?

As always, thanks for your help Sitesurf!

  1. yes, from formal down to standard down to unformal/oral
  2. "puis-je" is a conventional change of vowel sound to ease pronounciation, in the Verb-Subject inversion form.
  3. more "polite/respectful" indeed with the polite "vous+votre" in all 3 examples.


It's interesting to see 'puis-je', as I always wondered how would the inversion work using 'peux'...
Although I don't use inversion with 'je' as you said it's not in speech, it is nice to have the option.

I have 2 questions.
1. Does 'peux' switch to 'puis' with the pronoun 'tu'?
2. Does the verb 'veux' follow the same rule as 'peux'?

Thanks a lot


"puis-je" was kept from old French for the purpose of helping pronunciation (vs peux-je)

"peux-tu" does not pose any problem of pronunciation, so "puis" is not used.

"veux-je" is not used either in speech. It is better to use "est-ce que je veux"


alright, so 'puis' is only used with 'je'... that's fine

but what if I wanted to use inversion using 'je' and 'veux', what do I use?


You can say "veux-je ?", which is difficult to decipher in speech, but it does not matter, since you will probably ask that question to yourself...


Can "montre" also mean the other sort of watch, as in guard duty? Or does it refer solely to timepieces?


"montre" as a noun is an object showing time.

"montrer" as a verb means "show", in indicative present: "je montre, il montre, elle montre"


Thank you, Sitesurf!


Does this also mean "I can take your watch."?


Yes, that is how I translated it. In both French and English you can ask a question by putting a question mark at the end of a statement. Of course you would say it differently if it was a statement vs a question.


Could the phrase not also be used to ask to "borrow" the watch?


Predre can't be "get" ?


No, see http://translate.google.com/#auto/en/prendre .
In English, 'take' usually means to pick something up, while 'get' usually means 'obtain' or 'bring'.

  • Let me get your stuff (= [Stay put,] let me bring you your stuff)
  • Try to get an A (= obtain the highest grade)

But 'get' is a very versatile verb, there may be instances where 'prendre' is an appropriate translation.


same question with me


Is there a distinction between "could" and "can"? I put "Could I take your watch?" and it marked me wrong.


"Could" is past tense

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