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  5. "¿Puedo llevar tu bolsa?"

"¿Puedo llevar tu bolsa?"

Translation:Can I carry your bag?

March 2, 2018



Can I = is it humanly possible May I = would you give me your permission


Current wisdom suggests the two words can/may be used interchangeably, but "may" is considered a little more polite making it more appropriate for formal situations.

If you do a quick Google search, you will receive numerous articles regarding usage from Oxford Dictionaries to Grammar Girl that explain this.


I agree with those that say that both can & may should be accepted. English allows both precisely because English has almost completely lost the distinction between indicative and subjunctive. One way to display distinction between can and may in Spanish grammatically is the distinction between the indicative and subjunctive. But is there a difference in this sentence between Spanish subjunctive and indicative? I don't think pueda works here, so I don't think Spanish would use subjunctive here, but we will need a native speaker to chime in to confirm. "Pueda llevar su bolsa?" If one wants to be polite and deferential here, then su is used. "Peudo llevar su bolsa." The pronoun tu indicates familiarity and deference, not subjunctive in this case. In colloquial English, "Can I carry your bag"--said to someone you know--is the norm in the midwest U.S., whereas "May I carry your bag" is more formal and would be said to someone you don't know--the granny who is having a hard time--and so su would be needed in Spanish equivalent. IMO, the use of pronoun tu here indicates "can" is best but I wouldn't fall on my sword over it.


If you want to use the subjunctive, you can say
Permita que yo lleve su bolsa = Allow me to carry your bag.

  • preguntó el ladrón amablemente


They should teach useful phrases like: Can you carry MY bag!


Puedes llevar mi bolsa?


Is there a difference between "May I" (do I have permission) and "Can I" (am I able) in Spanish?


I don't think so, i.e. puedo can mean both, although it would make little sense to ask someone else of what you are able to do IMHO.. anyways, it will always be clear from the context


Why is "Can I wear your bag?" wrong?


Because you don't wear a bag. Llevar works for wearing clothes, but not a bag.


unless you're in Paris during Fashion Week


llevar is to carry, not I carry?


Note that "puedo llevar" is a verb expression that means "I can take/carry" (or in question form, "can I take/carry"). In Spanish, you never conjugate the second verb in such verbals. This is different from English, where the second verb following a modal like "can," "should," etc. is conjugated to second person singular. Spanish never does that, even though English sometimes does and sometimes doesn't. For example:

"I must go" = "debo ir"
"I need to go" = "necesito ir"
"I should go" = "debería ir"

Quite often, Spanish requires an intervening preposition, where English does not. For example:

"I have to go" = "tengo que ir"
"I'm going to go" = "voy a ir"

This is just one of those cases where English grammar doesn't help with the Spanish grammar.


What is wrong with " can I take away your bag?" I was at a Latino restaurant just last night, and that's what I was asked.


For "take away," I would have expected to see the pronominal form of "llevarse." That would be, "¿me puedo llevar tu bolsa? "


Why can't llevar mean "take"?

  • 390

It can and is accepted.


The verb "llevar" doesn't translate well to "hold." It's closer to "carry" or "take." If you want to ask about merely holding (on to) someone's bag, you can use "coger," "agarrar," "sostener," "guardar," etc.


What am I saying wrong?


I have pronounced the words differently and still get "wrong"

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