Learn Modal Verbs Permissions – how we use can, could and may to ask for permission
Community Contributor (Philippines)
- Leadership strengths (Level 1)
- Community Contributor
We use can ask for permission to do something.
Can I use your laptop?
Can i sit here?
Could is more formal and polite than can.
Could i have this dance?
Could i sit here?
May is more formal and polite than could.
Students may travel free.
May I sit here?
We use can give permission.
You can borrow my iPad.
You can sit here.
We tend to use could as the past tense of can to talk about ability in the past.
You could eat out tonight. We could meet at the weekend.
May is the more formal and polite way than can.
You may take the day off.
You may be right
We use can say that someone has permission to do something
Teachers can use the computers at anytime.
Kids can use our playground for free.
We use could talk about less definite aspects of possibility or suggested options, either now or in the future.
Could you take a message, please? Could I have my bill, please?
May is a more formal and polite way of saying that someone has permission.
Students may watch the movie for free.
Your parents may use our car.
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