Do the following sentences have the same meaning?

  1. Candidates may not bring textbooks into the examination hall.
  2. Candidates are not allowed to bring textbooks into the examination hall.

They are very similar in meaning.

Sentence 1 sounds like an official rule that the examiner might tell the students before a test is administered.

Sentence 2 can also be inferred as a rule meaning the same as Sentence 1. Alternatively, it could be just a simple observation made by anyone who happens to be in the room.


I'm trying to think of an instance where one could be used and the other not, but I'm coming up dry. I think the meanings are so similar, they might as well mean the same thing.

The only minor exception to this is that the second is slightly colder than the first. You'd perhaps expect to see it on a list of rules and not actually spoken from someone unless that person were purposefully showing animosity towards the listener.

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