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  5. "Dürfte er ihre Toilette benu…

"Dürfte er ihre Toilette benutzen?"

Translation:May he use her restroom?

April 17, 2013



I find this translation misleading, because "May he use her restroom", as in "Is he allowed to use her restroom?" would be in German: "Darf er ihre Toilette benutzen?"

However, "Dürfte er ihre Toilette benutzen" would be equivalent in English to: "Would he be allowed to use her restroom?"

Dürfte is Konjunktiv 2, which means that it expresses an hypothetical situation, much like in English with the words "would" and "were", the only difference is that in German it is possible to use Konjunktiv 2 using only one word that has been "tempered" with, usually, but not exclusively, in the Präteritum form.

For example:

Er hat = he has. Er hatte = he had (past - Präteritum). Er hätte = he would have.

From this we can surmise that:

Er darf = he is allowed/he may. Er durfte= he was allowed (past - Präteritum). Er dürfte = he would be allowed.


I agree with this, could a native please confirm it is correct?


"...ihre Toilette..." -> why not translate it by "...their restroom..." (instead of "her")?


Restroom sounds a bit twee to British ears - it is noticeable that nobody above has used the word !


Americans are embarrassed to say toilet


We prefer ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤.


Darf er - can he... Durfte er - could he... ?


Yes, but mind the umlaut. "durfte" is in the preterite tense.


"durfte" (with an Umlaut) is the Past Subjunctive. Could it then mean "might he have used her toilet"?


No, you'd have to use a different modal.

Könnte er ihre Toilette benutzt haben?


If you don't have access to the umlaut, you can put an "e" after the vowel to represent it (ä = ae, ö = oe, ü = ue).


miaerbus Why not: "COULD he use her toilet"? As a Native English speaker this is EXACTLY what I would say. Of course it does not mean "Is he able to.." , it is asking for permission to. In normal speech we rarely use "may" to ask for permission


I do, and I correct my children when they don't. :)


Maybe they should refer you to the usage notes in dictionaries that explain that people who insist that "can" should be used for ability, and "may" should be used for permission are wrong.


Sorry, but is "may he", in the present tense, not "darf er" ? We learned our verbs: Durfen - darf - durfte - hat gedurft (can't add umlauts in on keyboard)


Not a native speaker, but my understanding is dürfte is a conditional version of darf. It is tricky to translate them differently into English, but its like you're not asking if you're allowed to do something in the sense of it being against the rules, but rather just politely asking permission.


Why "ihre Toilette" can't be translated as "your bathroom" (using ihre as formal you)?


If it were to be translated as the formal 'your', it would have to be 'Ihre' (note the capital 'I').

  • 1943

I too am inclined to think "your" is a reasonable translation for ihre in this case. It appears, however, that "your" is not an acceptable translation of "ihre" in this case. I've reported it.


"would he be allowed" (to use her toilet) is also accepted


Why not: "COULD he use her toilet"?


that would be "Könnte er ihre Toilette benutzen?"


Of course! I don't even know why I asked that, I learnt it by now :)


Surely for a simple request this ought to be 'darf er ihre Toilette benutzen?' 'Dürfte er ihre Toilette benutzen?' is Konjunktiv 2, i.e. conditional, and would mean 'Should he use her Toilet'? There must be a distinction in sense between a present indicative and a conditional, unless, despite the tense, this is just the way a German prefers to say it. Any native German speaker out there?!


Still no answer for why conditional tense in German for asking permission. Can someone please explain?


"Might he use use her toilet?"


That's not very good English so... just go with "may he..."


I believe it's perfectly good British usage. Oh, except for the "use use"...


Yes, "Might he use...?" sounds perfectly good to me (Br English). "May he use...?" sounds awkward to my ear, but it is probably correct, and it does get the meaning across.


I speak American English, but "might he use" still sounds much better than "may he use".


I think "may he use" is more American than British. Both sound good to me.


as a child, i am expected to use 'may' because it is polite, therefore, it sounds completely normal to me. i assume that as you get older, you will use it less because one on the main places it is used is in school when talking to teachers, and at home when talking to your parents or guests.


Why not "Does he have permission to use her toilet?" ? DL marked it wrong.


Why is "Darf es..." marked wrong? (I had the question in English and was asked to provide the German)


Is this some kind of toilet brokerage ? Where do I apply ?


Ihre is the formal you. In this context, it sounds like the person is asking an unknown third party permission on behalf of someone else to use the bathroom. So, ihre as a form of your should be also accepted, understanding the context of the question itself.


But Ihre for the formal you has to be spelt with a capital I, so it is incorrect here.


Normal speed 'benutzen' - slow speed 'nutzen'


You can't hear the er before ihre in the audio unless you slow it down lol


How urgent is it to need a rest?


Why isn't it "your restroom"?


Because ihre doesn't start with a capital letter, therefore it has to mean her or their.


One can rest on a bed or a sofa or even in a tent. I suspect that whoever is asking for the lavatory has other ideas.


I see DL has "their" listed here but told me "her", come on get it right?! Which is it?


It only offers "restroom", not "toilet". In English, a restroom is a waiting room, a lounge, a refuge and has nothing whatever to do with toilets. Perhaps it's an American neologism but it's completely misleading for people trying to learn English.


You can't pretend that the UK is the entire world. If you are unwilling to learn English as it's used throughout the world, it makes me wonder why you would bother learning a foreign language. Most people in England are glad to know how English is used around the world.

If you don't like the way Americans use English, then don't forget that the land had many other languages that were spoken regularly until people came from Great Britain and refused to learn the language. English became the de facto language, and Americans noticed, as people came from and went to England, that the language was changing so fast over there that they predicted that within a few hundred years, the languages wouldn't be mutually intelligible. That didn't happen, but don't pretend that the language wasn't changing faster in England, or that the US wasn't retaining more traditional words. That's rubbish. (rubbish, by the way, is a newer word for garbage)


If you have to be so aggressive, you've got real problems. Insecurity, perhaps?


Only just noticed your entirely correctpost. Obviously aggro man doesn't realise that more people in India speak English than they do in the US. As about a quarter of Americans claim Spanish as their first language we can relax and wave Amerenglish goodbye.

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