In Collins French-English dictionary this is the sentence:

Est-ce que je peux t'emprunter un euro.

When I type this into Google Translate I get the same translation:

Est-ce que je peux emprunter à toi un euro

Is the second structure formal? If not, is it ever used in daily language? If not, how bad is it to use it that way? What would be the thoughts and reaction of a French person after they heard that?

1 Answer 1


If you wanted to ask X the permission to borrow one euro from Y, you would say:

Est-ce que je peux emprunter un euro à Y?

So theoretically you could say:

Est-ce que je peux emprunter un euro à toi?

But most French people would frown after hearing such a sentence since

Est-ce que je peux t'emprunter un euro?

is much more common and sounds more natural.

  • Would you say the same for this : 'Tu as vu lui (you watched it)'. I want to know how bad is it if they hear such sentence from a non-native French speaker.
    – Xfce4
    May 11, 2021 at 16:50
  • If you're referring to a movie, you'd say "Tu l'as vu". "Lui"="Him", and is most of the time used for human beings (just like 'Him').
    – vc 74
    May 11, 2021 at 17:01
  • Ok, "it" in 'You watched It" is direct object in French. So 'le' should be used instead of 'lui' and 'le' comes before the verb. Thanks for your time.
    – Xfce4
    May 12, 2021 at 2:00
  • 1
    As a french speaker, I can confirm that "Est-ce que je peux emprunter un euro à toi ?" sounds so bad, that it will not get you any money :)
    – Ben
    May 12, 2021 at 18:00

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