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    #1

    Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Can I have a drink?
    Could you help me deliver that goods to our customer?

    Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Last edited by Polyester; 20-Nov-2014 at 07:09.

  1. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    "Can" means "are able to." Can you have a drink? If you are physically capable of lifting a beverage to your lips and sipping it, then yes you can. The polite (and grammatically correct) way to request it is "May I have a drink?"

    Likewise "Could you help me" is requesting assistance, and is the correct form.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    These days, many, or most, people use "can/could to replace "may".

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    #4

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    These days, many, or most, people use "can/could to replace "may".
    What about "Shall we?"?

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    #5

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    I think 'Could you please ...' is more polite.

    Not a teacher.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Quote Originally Posted by Polyester View Post
    What about "Shall we?"?
    You can't replace "can I" with "shall we". It has a completely different meaning.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 20-Nov-2014 at 17:10. Reason: Fixing minor typo

  5. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    These days, many, or most, people use "can/could to replace "may".
    These days many people text while driving. Doesn't make it correct or right.

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    #8

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    I agree with Mike's observation; in language, conventions do in fact define correctness, ultimately.

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    #9

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    The word "could" is more polite, while "can" is less formal/more informal.


  8. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Which more polite on the question? can vs could

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    These days many people text while driving. Doesn't make it correct or right.

    The analogy escapes me. Is using can/could dangerous or illegal?

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