You tell your readers how to ask to pet a dog in French, but I have a feeling you meant to look up the French word for “pet,” and it slipped past before you inserted it. Plus, you suggest the familiar form of “you.”
Here is your text (for “You have an adorable dog. May I pet your dog?”): Tu as un chien adorable. Puis-je pet votre chien? “Pet” should be “caresser.” In French, “pète,” which is pronounced like “pet,” means “fart.”
And you should never address a stranger with “tu.” That’s reserved for friends and family and people you know well. It should be “Vous avez un chien.” You got it right with “votre,” which is the formal way of saying “your.”
I hope you don’t mind me saying these things. I’m a blogger and always appreciate respectful corrections from people myself.
A: No disrespect taken. Dog Lady’s fractured French is about as reliable as Dog Lady’s ability to change the transmission on a Peugeot. Thank you for the correction. The last thing we want is for tourists who can’t resist chasing after hairy canine rumps in Paris to mistake pète for caresser. You are very good to indulge the American visitors’ need for snout snuggles in The City of Light.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow the “Ask Dog Lady” fan page on Facebook. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.