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Peux vs puis

Kathryn M.C1Kwiziq community member

Peux vs puis

Can one no longer use  je puis?

Asked 5 months ago
Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer


From Larousse : 




Pouvoir n'a pas d'impératif ni de passif.

Je peux / je puis. Les deux formes sont correctes, mais je puis ne s'emploie plus que dans le registre très soutenu (je ne puis faire autrement) sauf dans les phrases interrogatives avec inversion du sujet où il remplace obligatoirement je peux : puis-je vous aider ?

Jim J.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Kathryn,

It is a while since my last French trip, but I recall in Lyon being praised for being polite when asking for another carafe of water using Puis je .....

Whilst in Toulouse a similar comment when making a request  --  I have noticed when French speakers wish to be polite in English they are inclined to use "May I ...."  so it is clear to me that Puis je carries a similar meaning.

So yes! In my albeit non-recent experience this form of request is appreciated. I do not know other than the interrogative.

I have no experience with the standard usage.

There is some reference here however:-


Bonne journée


Peux vs puis

Can one no longer use  je puis?

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