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    #1

    'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    Do I understand right that

    - in the case of ability and possibility 'can' and 'may' are not used for denoting future events, that is sentences like 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' are not correct and these ideas are expressed as 'He will be able to come tomorrow' and, eg., 'Maybe he will come tomorrow'
    - but 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' can be used in the sense of permission?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    Do I understand right that

    - in the case of ability and possibility 'can' and 'may' are not used for denoting future events, that is sentences like 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' are not correct and these ideas are expressed as 'He will be able to come tomorrow' and, eg., 'Maybe he will come tomorrow'
    - but 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' can be used in the sense of permission?

    Thank you.
    He is busy today, but he can come tomorrow. (able to come, but not certain that he will come)
    He is busy today, but he may come tomorrow. (it is possible but not certain that he will come, ability is implied)

    Sorry, I overlooked your last question. Context is always important in posts and responses. So, another point, "John has not completed his school project and he may not go to practice today, but he may go tomorrow if he completes it tonight. (Permission). And occasionally "can" is used interchangeably with "may" for permission.
    Last edited by billmcd; 27-Jun-2013 at 20:24.

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    #3

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    Do I understand right that

    [...]
    Thank you.
    No, that is not a correct understanding.

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    #4

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    Thank you, Billmcd, for your answer and attentive attitude towards students.

    I think, I have catched the point. "To be able to" is probably used when one speaks about the qualities of the subject (he will be able to take part in competitions only next month), in the case when the situation is in the focus "can" is used, the latter case corresponds to the above examples.

    *
    Last edited by Explorer; 28-Jun-2013 at 13:53.

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    #5

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    But are sentences like 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' grammatically strict or should they be referred to informal speech?

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    #6

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    But are sentences like 'He can come tomorrow', 'He may come tomorrow' grammatically strict or should they be referred to informal speech?
    They are grammatically correct (strict?) but context/situation would determine usage/meaning, and used in formal and informal conversation.


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    #7

    Re: 'can' and 'may' for denoting future events

    I think, I have catched the point.
    You mean 'I think [no comma] I have grasped the point'.

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