‘can’ or ‘may’

   

can and may

In a statement, we use can or may in this way:

Subject + can/may + base form of main verb/the verb ‘to be’

Example:

       You can/may go out.

Susie can/may be successful.

In a question, we use can or may at the beginning in this way

can/may + Subject + base form of main verb/the verb ‘to be’

Example:    

Can Joe stay?

Can/May I be your friend?

Remember!

Modal or auxiliary verb:

Can, may, must, shall, will, ought

May is usually more polite than can

Example:

Can/May I use your calculator, please?

You can/may watch the television after dinner.

Example:

We can have the meeting at 3 p. m.

(definite possibility)

We may have the meeting at 3 p. m.

(slight possibility)

May is also used to suggest that the speaker or writer is not very certain about something.

Example: Your answer may be right.

Example:     She can swim well.

                     Can you do cartwheels?

May be and maybe.

May be is a verb.

Maybe is an adverb meaning “perhaps”.

It can also be the answer we give when we don’t want to say either yes or no.

Example:    

She maybe late. (wrong)

She may be late. (right)

Maybe she will be late. (right)

       Will you be going to the prom? Maybe. (right)

P135 F 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: