Forming inverted questions in Le Présent, special cases: puis-je, ai-je, suis-je

Simple Yes/No Questions

The forms je peux, je vais, je suis, j'ai can be inverted but these forms are rarely used nowadays, as they're considered very formal and old-fashioned:

Puis-je avoir le pain, s'il-vous-plaît?May I have the bread, please?

Suis-je à la bonne adresse?Am I at the right address?

Ai-je assez d'argent?Do I have enough money?

Vais-je dans la bonne direction?Am I going the right way?

Notice that je peux becomes irregular in the inverted form puis-je, probably to ease pronunciation. This structure is very formal as we stated before, so would only be used in polite contexts: the nearest English equivalent would be May I?

Note also that although it's rare to invert Je + verb to make a question, it does happen with some verbs.

 

More Complex Questions

You can also use all of the question words like Comment, Quand etc. at the beginning with puis-je, ai-je and suis-je:

Comment puis-je faire ça?How can I do that?

Où suis-je?Where am I?

 

Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Comment puis-je faire ça?How can I do that?
Puis-je avoir le pain, s'il-vous-plaît?May I have the bread, please?
Ai-je assez d'argent?Do I have enough money?
Suis-je à la bonne adresse?Am I at the right address?
Vais-je dans la bonne direction?Am I going the right way?
Où suis-je?Where am I?
Thinking...