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pouvoir

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French

Etymology

From an earlier poeir from a popular Latin *potere from the classical verb posse

Pronunciation

Verb

pouvoir

  1. can, to be able to
    Je peux venir ce soir - I can come this evening
  2. may
    désastre qui peut nous frapper

Usage notes

  • Pouvoir is not used with verbs relating to the five senses:
    I can see you - Je te vois (not Je peux te voir, which is "I can meet you")
  • Pouvoir is not used to mean can in the sense of "to know how to". Use savoir instead.
    I can swim - Je sais nager (not Je peux nager)
  • In Belgian French, pouvoir is additionally not used to say someone is capable of something, savoir is also used for that.
    Je ne sais pas dormir. - I am not able to sleep. to a Belgian, I do not know how to sleep. to a Frenchman.
    Je ne peux pas dormir. - I am not allowed to sleep. to a Belgian, I am not able to sleep. to a Frenchman.
  • Puis is the first person present indicative form used in inversion and as an archaic variant.

Conjugation

Noun

pouvoir m. (plural pouvoirs)

  1. (countable or Template loop detected: Template:context 1) Power, a power.

Derived terms

Elsewhere on the web

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