[Grammar] Can I help you?

Status
Not open for further replies.
N

Needtoknow

Guest
When answering a phone in busines what is the "correct" grammar?

Hello this Kay, Can I help you?

or

Hello this is Kay, May I help you?

Or it just a matter of preference?
 

corum

Banned
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Hungarian
Home Country
Hungary
Current Location
Hungary
I have a friend who lives in South Africa and who is a lawyer (he has education). He keeps correcting me when I use 'can' thus. And I keep re-correcting him. :lol: With 'may' you are more polite and formal.
 

bertietheblue

Senior Member
Joined
May 21, 2010
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
With 'how' before, may/can mean the same because the question is no longer about permission/capacity but about the 'how'. 'May' is more formal.

"Reception, how can I help you!"

"Reception, how may I help you!"
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top