Guide: How to Say “May I Have” in French?

Learning how to express simple phrases in a foreign language is a great step towards effective communication. If you’re wondering how to say “May I have” in French, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to express this request, along with some useful tips and examples. Let’s get started!

Formal Ways to Say “May I Have” in French

The formal way to ask for something politely in French is to use the expression “Puis-je avoir.” Here, “Puis-je” serves as the formal version of “may I” and “avoir” means “to have.” Together, they form the phrase “Puis-je avoir.” Let’s look at some examples:

Example 1: Puis-je avoir un stylo? (May I have a pen?)

Example 2: Puis-je avoir l’addition? (May I have the check?)

Example 3: Puis-je avoir un verre d’eau? (May I have a glass of water?)

Remember to use this formal expression when speaking to someone you’re not familiar with or in a professional setting. It shows respect and politeness.

Informal Ways to Say “May I Have” in French

In informal situations, such as when speaking with friends, family, or acquaintances, you can use a more relaxed expression to ask for something. One common phrase is “Est-ce que je peux avoir,” which translates to “Can I have.” Let’s see it in action:

Example 1: Est-ce que je peux avoir un verre de vin? (Can I have a glass of wine?)

Example 2: Est-ce que je peux avoir une serviette? (Can I have a towel?)

Example 3: Est-ce que je peux avoir un morceau de pain? (Can I have a piece of bread?)

Using this informal expression is perfectly acceptable among friends or when interacting with people you feel comfortable with. It conveys a friendly and casual tone.

Tips for Expressing “May I Have” in French

Here are some additional tips to enhance your understanding and pronunciation when using the phrases we’ve mentioned:

1. Politeness Matters

French culture places a strong emphasis on politeness. So, when asking for something, it’s important to include polite words like “s’il vous plaît” (please) or “merci” (thank you) to show respect.

2. Nonverbal Cues

Accompany your request with appropriate nonverbal cues. For example, making eye contact and using a polite tone of voice can go a long way in conveying your sincerity.

3. Practice Pronunciation

Pronunciation plays a key role in effective communication. Pay attention to the sounds of French words and practice pronouncing them correctly. Listening to native French speakers or using language learning apps can be helpful for improving your pronunciation skills.

4. Consider Context

Always consider the context in which you’re making the request. The level of formality may vary based on the situation, so adjust your language accordingly.

5. Learn Regional Variations (if necessary)

Although French is spoken throughout France and other French-speaking countries, slight regional variations in vocabulary and expressions may exist. If you’re planning to visit a specific region, it’s worth learning some local variations to enrich your language skills.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to say “May I have” in French. Remember to use “Puis-je avoir” in formal situations and “Est-ce que je peux avoir” in informal settings. Always embrace politeness, practice pronunciation, and consider the context when making requests. With these expressions and tips in your linguistic toolbox, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate through various French-speaking environments.

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22 days ago

Super, merci beaucoup.

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