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  1. kiki-monkey's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 20

    Can be/ may be?

    Hi, my teacher said than in this sentece below, there should be "can be" instead of "may be". But she said that when you say "can be" you mean probability. WHich I completely disagree with, because when you say "can be", you are merely expressing the fact that you have the ability to do sth., whereas when using "may be", you are using and questioning the probablity. SO who is right, me or my teacher?

    the sentence-You may be/can be older than me but that doesnīt mean you are smarter."

    and also another question -is "Helen said to boss" correct, or there canīt be the "to" preposition?


  2. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882

    Re: Can be/ may be?

    Ex: You can be older than me but ...
    => I allow / give you the right to be older than me ...

    Ex: You may/might be older than me but ...
    => It's possible that you are older than me ...

    Ex: Helen said to boss ...
    Ex: Helen said to the boss ...


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