"¿Abres eso, por favor?"
Translation:Can you open that, please?
"Could you open that, please?" is accepted. "Open that, please?" is not. The Spanish almost appears to be more of command than a request but it's not. I wondered why didn't they use the imperative "abre eso" or "abra eso"? The following answered my question and was very helpful.
You can drop poder and still be polite as long as you add por favor.
"One major difference between English and Spanish is that the latter ... doesn't need auxiliary verbs to construct tenses, as English does (in this case, "would"). Now, this conditional form, omitting the verb "poder"...is ...the preferred usage. Still, the form preceded by the verb poder is not uncommon, as a way to emphasize politeness.
"¿Me da una servilleta?" The approximate English correspondance would be: "Do you give me a napkin?", which would not be used in that situation. Now, in Spanish, this option is used at least as much as the conditional..., if not more. This one sounds closer to the imperative form, but it's not ...(which would be "Deme una servilleta").
A slight and curious difference between the usage of the conditional and non-conditional form for making a request:
"¿Me da una servilleta, por favor?" and "¿Me daría una servilleta?" sound similarly polite. If you omit "por favor" (please) in the first case, you risk sounding a bit impolite (obviously, depending on your general attitude and tone)."
Nachotime had a good explanation of how to make requests using poder (although poder has been dropped from the Duolingo sentence):
"I recommend reserving podría (conditional, usted) for very polite requests (or for asking favors that make you feel slightly guilty), and making puedes (present, tú) your default, since it sits somewhere in the middle of the politeness ladder:"
—¿Le podría decir a su hijo que deje de tirarme patatas fritas? “(conditional, usted): Could you tell your son to stop throwing (at) me French fries?”
—¿Le puede decir a su hijo que deje de tirarme patatas fritas? “(present, usted): Can you…”
—¿Le puedes decir a tu hijo que deje de tirarme patatas fritas? “(present, tú): Can you…”
—Dígale a su hijo que deje de tirarme patatas fritas. “(imperative, usted): Tell your son…“
—Dile a tu hijo que deje de tirarme patatas fritas. “(imperative, tú): Tell your son…“
Why can´t I copy these anymore? I use to be able to extract the most relevant responses to my mistakes so I don't have to look /read all the response again, or type them myself...why not now. It shouldn't be a copywrite issue. The Duo lessons are incomplete. My way of thanking eliza for the answer. Thanks
I'm an American primary teacher. "Can you open that?" is asking whether "you" are able to open that. However, many Americans use poor grammar, and use "Can" for requests, though most often requests for permission, as "Can I go to the nurse's office?" (cringe, but it's common.) Most Americans asking someone to open something would say either "Would you open that?" or, far more commonly, just "Open that, please."
According to all the dictionaries that I have consulted, "can" signifies both ability and permission. I do not believe it is poor grammar to use what is accepted as a standard? But language is flexible and subject to personal opinion. I wonder what your position is on ending a sentence with a preposition.
Here are some references that substantiate the word "can" signifies both ability and permission.
May implies permission. Can implies ability or permission depending on the context. Could implies that you are seeking an answer about future ability or permission based on a possible condition (conditional mood of can). Will implies that you are seeking an answer about future action. Would implies that you are seeking an answer about future action perhaps based on a condition (conditional mood of will).
May is generally used with the subject "I." Could and would are generally considered more polite than can and will because they allow more leeway in the answer. Will you do it? - No. Would you do it? - I would, but...
They are all so close in meaning that they are used interchangeably.
They all can be used in Spanish.
As I mentioned elsewhere the use of "eso" bothers me. Am I ever going to ask you to open something we both don't recognize and therefor has gender? If I am wrong, please give me some examples. I hand you a can, a box, a window, etc. we know these items have gender and ese and esa are appropriate.
I suppose I could ask you to open something neither of us recognize?
"We sometimes use can you and will you to make requests but they are more informal"
I don't understand "can". If it were not a question, it would be "you open that", correct? Does the question mark imply ability as in "are you able to open that" or does the question mark imply a request as in "are you willing to open that" or is it merely a plea "could you please open that". In English, "can you open that" is a very unclear way of speaking.
It is implied. That is what Duo is trying to teach here. In English, you would usually say Can you open that. In Spanish, you can say ¿Puedes abrir eso? or Abres eso? Native Spanish speakers tell me that the second way is common.
We sometines do this in English. In the comments above, Jabrat gives some examples. One of them is, Turn down the volume, please.
I agree. Remember that Spanish omits “implied” words in questions that we usually include in English.
Most often normal statements of fact are used in questions.
You have a house = Tienes una Casa
Do you have a house? = ¿Tienes una casa?
Same sentence, different inflection. Normally English speakers include the “do” in the same question, not so in Spanish.