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  1. Unregistered

    usage of 'May I'

    When (or) under what circumstances can we use 'May I'. for example -

    "May I request you to provide me with the access rights of VSS".

    Actually this is a request made to the reporting manager. Is this usage correct?

  2. Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585

    Re: usage of 'May I'

    Hello Unreg,

    Usually, "May I do X?" is a request for permission to do X, e.g.

    1. May I ask you what your first name is? = Permit me to ask you what your first name is.

    2. May I see that piece of paper? = Permit me to see that piece of paper.

    3. May I come with you tonight? = Permit me to come with you tonight.

    In BrE, it is a polite or deferential structure. "Could I do X?" is a more common form.

    In your example, it might sound a little over-deferential; also, you "request something from someone" or "ask someone to do something". A more usual form for your sentence therefore might be:

    4. Could I ask you to give me access rights for VSS.

    or simply:

    5. Could you please give me access rights for VSS.

    Best wishes,


    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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