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