"Dürfte er ihre Toilette benutzen?"

Translation:May he use her restroom?

April 17, 2013



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

October 14, 2013


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

April 23, 2014


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

May 7, 2015


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

May 13, 2014


Americans are embarrassed to say toilet

April 7, 2019


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

April 17, 2013


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

April 17, 2013


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

July 5, 2013


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

Könnte er ihre Toilette benutzt haben?

July 5, 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.

June 5, 2018


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

October 5, 2018


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)

November 29, 2013


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

May 12, 2018


Why not: "COULD he use her toilet"?

July 14, 2013


that would be "Könnte er ihre Toilette benutzen?"

July 17, 2013


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

July 17, 2013


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

February 15, 2018


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

June 13, 2018

  • 1333

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.

May 14, 2018


"Might he use use her toilet?"

July 5, 2013


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

July 12, 2013


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

August 7, 2013


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.

September 4, 2013


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

November 18, 2013


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

June 25, 2014


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

November 27, 2013


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

December 19, 2015


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

July 28, 2018


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.

October 11, 2018


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

October 27, 2018


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

March 8, 2014
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