51

This is what was meant: Yes, you are capable of sitting there. But you are not permitted to do so. It's using the following senses of the words (from Merriam-Webster). Can: 1 a : be physically or mentally able to // He can lift 200 pounds. May: 1 b : have permission to // you may go now Both can and may have multiple senses, and frequently ...


23

In common parlance in the 21st century, it is probably fair to say that "can I" is the more common construction for enquiring about both ability and permission. However, some prescriptivist people insist that "Can I" should only be used to mean "Am I capable of", and that someone wishing to ask permission ("Am I allowed to") should use "May I". The guard, ...


2

There are some things you can do, but considering the social and legal implications some things should not be done. E.g.: you can enter the president's office, but you may not do so for hearing/seeing unwanted things.


1

Yes. This is how English forms conditional clauses. The condition is implied "If I was not busy". To talk about a past conditional (that is one which is counter-factual) you need "would have" I would have gone to your party, but I was busy yesterday.


1

C is correct. The suggestion "would be" is quite natural, and "might be" could be used too. The A answer doesn't fit, because it is saying that it is appropriate now that she be on TV, but it isn't appropriate because she wasn't true to her vision. I'm answering the questions within your post, but not the question in your title; I don't think in terms of ...


1

It's a somewhat formal way of saying until the weather permits. The question of certainty doesn't arise.


1

There is a trick here: "If he knew it" could be a conditional, or it can be past tense. It could mean "if he knew it right now" or "if he knew it yesterday". Therefore (a) and (b) could be correct: "If he knew it right now, he would tell us", and "If he knew it yesterday, he would have told us". Obviously which one to use depends on the situation. In (c),...


1

Should have can be used both retrospectively to reflect on an action that one ought to have taken (and didn't) - or to express a view about a future outcome in the sense of it is likely that. In your example should have (plus past participle) is used in this second sense. You will find a useful explanation and examples at the website listed below. https:/...


1

The difference between can and could in this context is whether you actually do what you say. The ceiling is so low that I can touch it! The ceiling is so low that I could touch it. In the first sentence the speaker is demonstrating as they speak that they are able to touch the ceiling, whereas in the second sentence the speaker is describing a ...


1

Remove the "maybe" and the example now reads "She won't come to our party" There is nothing hesitant or uncertain in that statement. Quite the opposite in fact, "she" either stoutly refuses to attend the party or the speaker is making a (pessimistic?) prediction. I won't do it! (I refuse to do it) Maybe I won't do it (I might not do it) To express ...


1

We often use will in predictions of future events : e.g., Tomorrow will be warm, with some cloud in the afternoon. Moreover, the adverb Maybe (=perhaps) has been used in your example to show the possibility : Maybe she won't come to our party.


1

The first "may" suggests a possibility, just like your sentence "It may rain tonight." Instead of wiping out COVID-19, it is possible that societies learn to live with it... Instead of wiping out COVID-19, there is a possibility that societies learn to live with it... The second "may" seems to me to suggest contingency. It suggests possibility, but ...


1

It is a matter of likelihood. If Joe and Sarah are at the altar and you think he makes a mistake you say “he could do better than marry her” - could because there is a 99% chance he will marry her. But if Joe is looking for a wife and had a first date that didn’t go well, Joe will say “I can do better than marry Sarah” because it’s very unlikely he would. ...


1

You can spend your vacation in Dubai You may spend your vacation in Dubai You will spend your vacation in Dubai You shall spend your vaction in Dubai all refer to future action but emphasize different attitudes with respect to that future action. The "can" variant emphasizes your expected physical capacity to perform that action without ...


1

A typical definition of a transitive verb is "one that accepts one or more objects". Can and the other modal verbs do not accept objects. They are always followed by another verb (auxiliary be, have or main verb). So, can and the other verbs are not transitive.


1

The difference as I see it is the same as @Jason Bassford was referring to: Can in this context indicates something very weak -- it indicates that something is technically not impossible, but gives no indication of whether or not that something can be expected. It is completely neutral about likelihood. May, on the other hand, indicates that there is some ...


1

Yes, you can. However, it's not entirely natural, and it normally requires more context than given in the question. For instance: Mr. A: "I know you don't normally allow people to drive your car, but if I grab you that food you need, could I take your car?" Mr. B: "Yes, you could." In that context, it's made clear from the preceding context that ...


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