Results 1 to 3 of 3

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Grammar

    what is the differnce between using 'a few' and 'a little'?


    and also what is the difference between using 'may i' and can i'

    for example:
    in the following sentence: This looks too heavy,______________ pick it up?

    what should be the appropriate word?is it ' can i' or 'may i'

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,479
    #2

    Re: Grammar

    Welcome to the board, sameer vepa.

    Always capitalise I and the first word of a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by sameer vepa View Post
    What is the difference between using 'a few' and 'a little'?

    Also what is the difference between using 'may I?' and 'can I?'
    Use few for countable nouns: 'I'd like a few peas, please'.

    Use a little for uncountable nouns: 'Would you like a little sugar in your tea?'

    * * *

    May I asks permission: 'May I open the window?'

    Can I asks if I'm capable: 'Can I reach the top shelf from here?'

    Rover

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #3

    Re: Grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    May I asks permission: 'May I open the window?'

    Can I asks if I'm capable: 'Can I reach the top shelf from here?'
    Rover is correct, but many people today use can for permission. The following is taken from Biber et al (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman.

    Despite a well-known prescription favouring may rather than can for expressing permission, may is especially rare [my emphasis - 5jj] in the sense of permission. Interestingly, many of the instances of may marking permission in the LSWE corpus are produced by care-givers in conversation with children.

Similar Threads

  1. Descriptive grammar and standard english grammar
    By guzhao67 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Apr-2010, 07:14
  2. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-Sep-2009, 19:24
  3. Grammar Websites and Grammar Chats
    By Grammar Needs Improving in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Apr-2009, 19:32
  4. [Grammar] contemporary grammar, communicative grammar
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Jul-2008, 10:54
  5. Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar
    By zoobinshid in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2005, 13:25

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •