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Adam
Difference between 'Ich kann' and 'Ich darf'. Hi! I would like to know if you can say in German, for example: 1) Kann ich dich anrufen? (equivalent of English 'Can I call you') or only: 2) Darf ich dich anrufen? (so a more polite 'May I call you'). I am just wondering if Germans consider the first phrase to be a bit strange (like: "Am I able to call you" - you probably are, if you have two hands) or can it be used interchangeably with "dürfen" as can/may in English is (with a slight change of politeness between the two).
Sep 9, 2018 9:21 AM
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Answers · 5
I would choose 1) because „dürfen“ seems overpolite here.
September 9, 2018
The first sentence is perfectly fine. It's just a bit more informal than "Darf ich...".
September 9, 2018
'Ich darf' - i am allowed to do something 'Ich kann' - i can do something. Example: I know how to ride a car but i don't have a driver's license, so i am not allowed to drive. " Ich kann Auto fahren aber besitze keinen Führerschein, also darf ich nicht Auto fahren."
September 9, 2018
The "right" word depends also a bit on your relationship with the other person. If its a costumer of your company etc you should use a more polite approach -> Darf ich Sie anrufen If its one of your friends, the informal approach is enough -> kann ich dich anrufen?
September 9, 2018
You use "darf" when are allowed to do something. For example, at school "darf ich bitte ins bad gehen?" "kann" is when you are able to do something, like "ich kann Deutsch sprechen"
September 9, 2018
Adam
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English, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese
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