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Can or May

When we have to use CAN and we have to use MAY?

5 anos atrás

4 Comentários

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People are often uncertain about whether there is any difference between can and may when these verbs are used to ask for or grant permission. For example, is one of these two sentences ‘more correct’ than the other?

Can I ask you a few questions? May I ask you a few questions?

There is a widespread view that using can to ask for permission is wrong and that it should only be used in expressions to do with ability or capability, e.g.:

Can she swim? Can you speak Italian?

But the 'permission' use of can is not in fact incorrect in standard English. The only difference between the two verbs is that one is more polite than the other. In informal contexts it’s perfectly acceptable to use can; in formal situations it would be better to use may.

5 anos atrás


so I can use both, like in this sentence. Thanks a lot.

5 anos atrás


Não há muito diferença, Can ele é mais informal e May é mais formal.

Can I help you? May I help you?

5 anos atrás


thanks a lot

4 anos atrás

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