You have a car. You have to go to the same way as Steve, who is on foot. You offer him a lift. You say to him:

The exercise is from Can/Could/Would you ... ? etc(Request, offers, permission and invitations) unit. The correct answer is obviously Can a give you a lift? but I never heard people saying this.

I would use something like this

Hey, I have to go the same place as you, so I can give you a lift if you want.


Hey, I have to go the same place as you. Would you like me to give you a lift?

I'm just curious if Can I give you a lift? is a natural way to say this or it's grammatically correct, but not used by native speakers.

1 Answer 1


In UK English, you will hear this and many similar forms all day and in many circumstances:

  • Can I give you a lift?
  • Can I offer you a lift
  • Can I buy you a drink?
  • Can I ask you a question?
  • Can I invite you to a party?

All are polite forms of asking if the main action is permitted.

You will also hear

  • May I ... (slightly more formal)
  • Permit me to ... (more formal)
  • Could I ...

And many, many more. In general, the longer the form, the more hesitant it is, and ridiculous things are sometimes heard in films: "I wonder if you might possibly consider letting me ask if I could offer you a lift?"

  • Thanks, would be interesting to hear American English natives too. In my mother tongue, it's somewhat unlogical to ask permission to do something good for a person:)
    – Artem
    May 15, 2019 at 10:35
  • @ArtemMalchenko: Well, if you force somebody to get inside your car, it will be called kidnapping, even if you only have good intentions. So permission is always needed. However, to be 100% correct and formal, you should use "may" instead of "can".
    – virolino
    May 15, 2019 at 10:45

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