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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 1,636

    may I , can I

    I want to know the reason why as I asked questions in the forum, I putMay I at the begining of the sentence to show my appreciation to all answer my questions, the questions are always corrected to Can I?

    eg My questions are corrected :

    FROM : May I know the differences between hardworking and diligent?
    TO " Can I know the differences between hardworking and diligent?


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

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

    Re: may I , can I

    'May I...' is the formally correct way to ask permission to do something. Most people nowadays use 'Can I...' in its place.

    'May I know the reason for this decision?' is correct, but rather formal.

    'May I Know the differences....' sounds strange - you hardly need to ask permission to know the differences between things. Even 'Can I....' is a litle odd. It would be more natural to ask:

    'Can/could/would you tell me the differences...'


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