Not sure why "How do I carry it?" doesn't work. I am trying to connect French to my brain, not to English.
"peux" is the je form of "pouvoir", which means "to be able to" or "to be permitted to." "How do I carry it" means "In what way or manner should I carry it," whereas "How can I carry it?" has connotations of "How can I be expected to carry it?" or "How would it be possible for me to carry it?" Anyway, that's my best guess.
Jordthoms has a point. It's perfectly normal to look at something twice your size and say, "Oh yeah, and how do I carry that?" But it's a lost in translation thing.
Ok sorry 2 ask a dumb question but why is it comment je peux and not comment peux-je? Would it be comment tu peut?
That would have been incorrect. The right form is "puis-je" but it's oldfashioned and nobody uses it, so just "je peux" even in questions :)
I actually do not know if "How MAY I" should be accepted here. It has a slightly different meaning to "How CAN I"
Unfortunately (and fortunately), pouvoir translates to both. One handy word for future reference is "peut-être". This means "maybe".
Only because we don't use "can be“ like that, or say "canbe“, but we do say "could be“. In this case, as to the niggling distinction made between "can“ and "may“, "may“ is usurping its position, as prescriptivists claim "can“ is doing to "may“. The future does not ask permission, so "maybe“ might be another case of "can I go to the bathroom?“...
The tense is not right:
how might I carry this? = comment pourrais-je porter ça ? (conditional present)
So ‘puis je’ and ‘je peux’ are from the same verb but said in a different tense. Is my understanding correct?
Puis-je is pretty old-fashioned these days. Est-ce que je peux... is more common. They mean the same thing. (It's not a different tense, just one of those things that result from the evolution of the language.) Check this out: https://www.thoughtco.com/pouvoir-can-to-be-able-may-1370664
The tense is the same, but "puis" has been kept from old French to help with the pronunciation, because "peux-je" is difficult to say and understand. As a consequence, the formal "may I" translates to "puis-je", while "I can" and "I may" translate to "je peux".
It sounds like a whole word or partial word is crammed in after "comment." It's definitely an audio error.
Is this a common phrase? Is it like 'let me carry that for you', or just an example?
You should avoid using 2 interrogative words or phrases in the same question: "comment" is enough.
Yet, this is tolerated in speech when the main interrogative word is a one-syllable word, like: "où est-ce que" or "quand est-ce que".
Porter? Is the correct verb? For carry? How is that if porter means to wear, in its infinite form.
"porter" can mean "to wear" or "to carry". For lack of context, both are accepted.
"carry" can sometimes be "apporter", but "apporter" is more precisely "to bring (in)" or "to take (in)".
I've just put a comment on but this is to clarify it - a native English speaker would never say "How am I able to carry that?" they would say 'how can I carry that?' or 'How am I going to carry that?'
There is nothing wrong with "How am I able to carry that?" that would prevent a native English speaker saying it.
ok : comment je peux porter ça . but a few sentence befor it was : comment puis-je porter ça. What a difference ?!