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.


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?"

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  • 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 Malchenko May 15 '19 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 '19 at 10:45

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