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.
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".
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).
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.
I agree with DrinbalRose - why not say "may" instead of "can"? "Can" implies the person is capable, "may" implies the person is permitted to.
Which is why I wrote "you are allowed to use this telephone" but it was pinged.
I got this sentnce right after "Voglio chiamare i miei amici". Had to share!
How would an Italian say "Can you use this telephone?" As it is marked wrong for this sentence.
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....
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.
Surely "you are allowed to use this telephone" should be accepted. The hint shows it along with "you can"
In English you are allowed to = may which would be permisso not puoi, which means able to