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"Puis-je savoir pourquoi ?"

Translation:May I know why?

March 30, 2018

14 Comments

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

I was puzzled by the use of "puis" rather than "peux" in this example. I found this on Wiktionary.org: Puis (/pɥi/) is an archaic form of the first person present indicative peux. It is still used in inversion or with the conjunction si:

<pre>Puis-je vous aider? ― May I help you? Si je puis me permettre… ― If you don't mind… </pre>
April 3, 2018

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

Formal: Puis-je savoir pourquoi? Informal: Je peux savoir pourquoi? Formal: May I know why? Informal: Can I know why?

I'm not entirely convinced. I just put it out there.

May 19, 2018

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

For just a minute, you had me, it would be such a nice solution ... but then ... an objection: I could never formally ask anything that wasn't a question of permission. I could never say, for instance "Puis-je faire une difference?"

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyceGee1

Puis-je was badly pronounced.

November 2, 2018

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

Could I know why? Why is this incorrect?

March 30, 2018

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

It's grammatically different. "puis-je" (the inversion for "je peux")/ "may I" is in present tense. "Could I" is in conditional.

March 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christian491946

The pronunciation is wrong.

April 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerard236044

The male voice for this phrase is very quiet for some reason

May 31, 2018

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

Why can't it be "May I understand why" ?

August 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimi1283

"Can I know why" is not accepted?

January 19, 2019

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

Je peux savoir pourquoi ?

February 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimi1283

I'm unclear what the distinction is. "May I" and "can I" are somewhat interchangeable in English, even if "may I" is technically more correct when asking a question.

February 27, 2019

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

There is a distinction in English between can and may although, you are right , it is not widely maintained nowadays. Technically, "can" implies ability to do something and "may" implies permission.

"Stop, Smith minor! I'm sure you can hit Jones major at 20 yards with your catapult - but you may not. Please get on with your work".

February 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Perry468586

We would not normally say 'Can I know. why?' In English. We would say 'May I know why?' or 'would you tell me why?' But we just don't use the expression 'Can I ' in a sentence like this.

June 17, 2019
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