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Autor:  Tiago T.
E-mail:  não-disponível
Data:  14/JAN/2017 1:34 PM
Assunto:  Using "can" to request permission
 
Mensagem:  The other day, I watched a video about the difference in usage between the modals "can" and "may". According to the video, "can" should be used to talk about ability or capacity, whereas "may" should be used to request permission.

So the presenter gave an example. A child at school approaches the teacher saying: "Can I go to the bathroom?". To which the teacher replies: "I don't know, can you?", implying that he doesn't know whether the student is capable of going to the bathroom by himself or not. So the teacher goes on: "Maybe you meant 'May I go to the bathroom?'".

I understand the example, but I have the feeling that using "can" to ask for permission is common and accepted, even among natives. It seems to me that using "may" in that case would be more polite, but I never thought that using "can" would be unnatural.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Grammar books don't seem to agree completely on this topic. In real life, do you think using "can" to ask for permission sounds natural?

Thanks!


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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
 Using "can" to request permission  –  Tiago T.  14/JAN/2017, 1:34 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  14/JAN/2017, 4:11 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  Tiago T.  15/JAN/2017, 1:32 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  15/JAN/2017, 5:33 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  mhw  16/JAN/2017, 11:04 AM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  16/JAN/2017, 10:22 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  17/JAN/2017, 1:02 AM
Using "can" to request permission  –  mhw  17/JAN/2017, 1:18 AM
Using "can" to request permission  –  Fran  18/JAN/2017, 8:21 AM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  18/JAN/2017, 10:06 PM
Using "can" to request permission  –  PPAULO  18/JAN/2017, 10:10 PM

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