1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Puoi usare questo telefono."

"Puoi usare questo telefono."

Translation:You can use this telephone.

July 26, 2014

22 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IARose
  • 1401

why is "you may use this telephone" pinged as incorrect?

July 26, 2014

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

While the translation "you may use this telephone" sounds polite, it potentially creates some confusion in the meaning. "you can use this telephone" denotes the ability to use the phone--indicating that one has the ability, or is granted the ability to use it. while "you may use this telephone" can also be interpreted in the same way, it can also be understood to mean a potential action that may or may not occur.

July 26, 2014

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

I have reported it. Evidently Italian is just as "bad" as English speakers, not making a distinction. All the modals get mixed up in English. DrinbalRose is correct in her analysis, but 'may' should definitely be considered (more) correct here!

July 24, 2015

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

I confirm, we're "bad": "potere" can mean both "being able" and "being allowed". For more politeness you can switch to conditional: posso? --> potrei? which better translates "may I".

March 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IARose
  • 1401

Thanks for the detailed answer. I am well aware of difference between can and may, which is - precisely in order to avoid any confusion between implying an ability to do something and granting permission to do it - why I elected to translate the sentence as: "you may use the phone"; this on the assumption that unless the "you" in question has been in a coma for the last 150 years give or take, he or she knows how to use a phone. I simply thought that, perhaps, in Italian there is a specific verb or combination of words that denotes "may", and that, therefore, potere means only can rather than, as in English, can or may (depending on the situation).

July 26, 2014

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

Hear hear! When people say "You can use the telephone" they nearly always mean "You may se the telephone" and are just using sloppy (perhaps uninformed) English.

March 24, 2015

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

I agree with DrinbalRose - why not say "may" instead of "can"? "Can" implies the person is capable, "may" implies the person is permitted to.

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David260430

Which is why I wrote "you are allowed to use this telephone" but it was pinged.

February 6, 2019

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

I got this sentnce right after "Voglio chiamare i miei amici". Had to share!

January 14, 2016

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

Grazie Mille!

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P-Fogg

How would an Italian say "Can you use this telephone?" As it is marked wrong for this sentence.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

They would say «Puoi usare questo telefono?», with a question mark if written down and a rise in intonation at the end of the sentence if spoken. It is marked wrong? Hmm... since intonation is difficult to distinguish with the robot voice, I think it should be accepted....

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bertie6

I used phone instead of telephone and was marked wrong?

April 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maryuri673441

same here, phone and telephone is the same

April 25, 2017

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

6/26/17 It works now.

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bertie6

great thanks

July 1, 2017

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

Since the verb potere means "to be able," I am reporting as an error duoLingo's complaint that "You are able to use this telephone" is incorrect, insisting that "can," not "are able," be used.

September 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David260430

Surely "you are allowed to use this telephone" should be accepted. The hint shows it along with "you can"

February 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P-Fogg

In English you are allowed to = may which would be permisso not puoi, which means able to

February 6, 2019

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

the voice really sounds like 'vuoi usare questo telefono'

October 8, 2019
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.