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  5. "Could you open the window?"

"Could you open the window?"

Translation:Skulle du kunna öppna fönstret?

February 5, 2015



I'm assuming that the "skulle du/ni kunna" construction is fairly formal and polite. If we wanted to be less formal, would we use simply "kunde du/ni"?


No, it would be kan du/ni. Skulle du kunna is like Could you …? and Kan du …? is like Can you …? as for degree of formality.


Ah, I see, thanks. Yeah, I confused myself, since in English "could" is both the simple past and conditional form of "can".


Yes, the other one would be kunde of course. But then it wouldn't be a request.


On Android, at least, the pop-up that appears when you give the wrong answer is misleading.

I was told that I had used the wrong word when I asked Kan du öppna fönstret?, and this was helpfully corrected to Kunde du öppna fönstret?.

However, most people will interpret the question as a polite request, not an enquiry about the potential window opener's ability, so to offer this correction without making the context clear is almost certainly going to lead some people to believe that kan/kunde can be used as a request instead of skulle.


The automatic corrections are pretty awful. The machine tries to pick the closest accepted answer, but the result is often disappointing, and there's nothing we can do about it. Luckily we can add reject notes for incorrect answers that have been reported, and there are a few reports for Kan du öppna fönstret so I'll try to write something more helpful there.


Re: skulle du kunna. I think of would you be able to...


If I dropped kunna would the meaning change to Would you open the window?


Yes, exactly - but please note that while you could still use that phrase in English to ask somebody to open the window, this is not possible in Swedish.


I am just confused. "skulle du kunna ...." is the formal saying to ask something from someone else. So "kunde du öppna fönstret" means "did you have ability to open it"? or just a request? Thanks.


Only 'were you able to', not a request.


Öppna fönstret snabt, något luftar hemskt!


luktar, unless you mean "something is aired terribly". :)


Sorry I'm still confused. If I'm asking someone about their ability to open windows, what would I say as opposed to asking someone to politely open a window, in terms of "kan" and "kunde"?


Can we use kunna here? Kunna du öppna fönstret?


No, you can't use the infinitive here.

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