Spanish modal sentences: Permission

featured permission

How to ask for permission in Spanish? How to tell people you allow something?

There are many ways.

The verbs poder, dejar y permitir + infinitive help you ask and give permission.

Let’s see their uses and meaning.

permission spanish

How to ask for permission in Spanish.

Poder (can), dejar  (to let), and permitir (to allow) are used like “can” and “may” to ask for permission.

The difference is in the point of view.

When you use poder the subject is the person who asks for permission. On the contrary, the subject of dejar and permitir is the person who gives permission, and the person who asks is an indirect object (me, nos).

Look at the examples of questions in informal contexts and see some questions and possible answers.

In this case poder and dejar are more appropriate:

– Adrián, ¿Puedo usar tu computadora? – No, no puedes.

– Adrian, can I use your computer? – No, You can’t.

– Papá, ¿nos dejas quedarnos el fin de semana con la abuela? – Por supuesto.

– Dad, can we stay at gramma’s home on the weekend? – Of course

– Carlos, ¿me dejas / permites quedarme en tu casa mañana? – Sí, seguro.

– Carlos, can / may I stay at your home tomorrow? – Yes, sure.

spanish permission

How to use “poder”, “dejar”, and “permitir”

In an informal context, the use of poder and dejar is more common, but in formal situations, when you don’t know the person, or you’re not close permitir is a good option.

Language tip: Also, if you want to ask for permission in Spanish more subtly or formally, you can use the present conditional. The conditional forms podría/podríamos, permitiría, and dejaría are more polite.

– Perdone Sra. Perez, ¿puedo/podría usar su teléfono? – Está bien. No hay problema.

– Excuse me, Mrs. Perez, may I use your phone? – It’s ok. No problem.

Sr Ramirez, estos ejercicios son largos. ¿podría terminarlos para mañana?

Sr. Ramirez, these exercises will take too long. ¿May I finish them tomorrow?

– Su atuendo es genial. ¿Me permite / permitiría  tomarle una foto? – Sí, gracias.

– Your outfit is great. May I take a picture of you? – Yes, please.

– Sr. Antonio ¿nos deja / dejaría usar esta oficina para la reunión? – Está bien.

– Mr. Antonio, can we use this office for the meeting? – Yes. It’s ok.

permission spanish dejar

Expressing permission with “poder”, “permitir” , and “dejar”

When you want to state that someone has permission or not to do something you can use the same verbs poder, dejar, permitir.

You can use them in all tenses and persons according to the situation.

Mary, ven a visitarme. Puedes venir cuando gustes.

Mary, come to visit me. You can come whenever you want.

Mi mama me dejaba salir todos los fines de semana.

My mom used to let me go out on the weekends.

Es tarde. No te permito llamar a esta hora.

It’s late. You’re not allowed (I don’t allow you) to call at this time.

No se permiten mascotas.

Pets are not allowed.

permission spanish permitir

Asking for permission?

There are other subtle way to ask for permission Spanish. It is with the verb importar as in ¿te importaría si me quedo? = Would you mind me staying?

Also, you can use dejar and permitir + que + subjunctive in more elaborated sentences.

Although, the basic expressions above are very common and useful to ask and give permission in Spanish.

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