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Usage of CAN and MAY

    Author:     Member Level: Gold    Points: 7 (₹ 7)

During my interaction with people, I noticed they tend to Use 'can' and 'may' without understanding the significance of what is the Meaning conveyed.

So, today let us clear the doubts and use the correct word in the right place.

The dictionary gives the meaning as:

CAN: to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to, to know how to, to
have the right or qualifications to etc..

Now, let us see how we use it during the chat.
Can I know the model number of the printer?

The meaning conveyed here is: do you know, do you have the intelligence to
find it if you do not know it, such a simple information like the model
This is so insulting. We are directly challenging the intelligence of the

MAY: used to express opportunity or permission, used to express wish or

Now, let us its implementation during conversation.

Sample Usage

May I know the model number of the printer?

The meaning conveyed here is: I trust you to give me the information which
will assist me to provide the correct solution.

Now, comes the question, is the 'May' the only correct way to ask a

I would say: There are other ways to ask questions.
For example : Could, Is, Do, Did, Have, When, Where etc. are all correct
ways to frame questions.

For example:
Could I know the connectivity between the printer and computer?
Is the printer connected to the wall jack or the surge protector?
Do you still see the error message displayed?
Did the shared webpage pop up on the screen?
Have you tried any troubleshooting steps?

Friends, let us keep the language polite at all times and build a positive

Next Resource: Better the devil you know than the devil you don`t
Previous Resource: Proper usage of definit article (the)

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