I sit in a coworker's office. I'm thirsty. I see there's a water dispenser. Can I ask: Can I take some water? - and would it be natural?

(I'm not asking the coworker to get it for me, I'm asking if I can take it myself.)

  • See British equivalent of “Can I get a …", pointing out that the BBC listed 'Can I get a...' as the most irksome Americanism. Jun 26, 2020 at 14:02
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica That answer, saying it should be getta instead of get a, is completely wrong. Jun 26, 2020 at 15:02
  • @JasonBassford: I have no idea what "that answer" says anyway. I just read that first sentence in the question I linked to, and thought it was relevant here. (That Americans walking up to a counter and saying Can I get a [thing that I want, which you sell]? is something that does tend to "irritate" Brits, myself included! :) Jun 26, 2020 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


The most polite and idiomatic way to ask would be "Please may I get some water".

"May I have" is also fine, but it sounds like you're asking them to get the water for you. "Get" makes it clear you will draw the water from the fountain yourself once you've had the approval to do so.

It doesn't sound right asking to "take" some water, as it isn't ready to take. If the water was bottled that would make sense because you'd be taking the bottle.

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