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    #1

    English usage

    Wich is the correcy usage? ' May I call you tomorrow ' or ' Can I call you tomorrow '.

  1. buggles's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: English usage

    Using "may" is asking permission - "Will it be o.k. if I call you?"
    Using "can" is saying "Will I be able to call you?"
    "May" allows them to say "yes".
    If you use "can", how do they know if you will be able to call? You may be ill or your 'phone might be broken.
    So, strictly you should always use "may".
    However, in everyday usage, "may" and "can" tend to be regarded as the same.
    Nobody will fail to understand what you mean whichever you use.

    Hope this helps.

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    #3

    Re: English usage

    As a footnote:

    "May I call you tomorrow?" is quite a "deferential" form; it is therefore not appropriate in every situation. (For instance, if you said it to a member of your family, it might seem rather distant.)

    "Can I call you tomorrow?" on the other hand is a "neutral" form; rather than asking for permission to call, you are asking if it is possible for you to call.

    (I would not myself agree that "Can I call you tomorrow?" has any real practical implications; but of course different people detect different nuances in these expressions.)

    Best wishes,

    MrP

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