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#1 Posted by NTM (7321 posts) -


#2 Posted by TooWalrus (13155 posts) -

I do occasionally. Because who cares.

#3 Posted by believer258 (11775 posts) -

Yeah, out of habit. Just how people have spoken around me since I was born.

#4 Posted by IzzyGraze (850 posts) -

I think so. I think I use both.

#5 Posted by RVonE (4623 posts) -

As a non-native speaker of the English language, I never understood why "can" is inappropriate to use when asking for something; is it just by convention that it is wrong (all language is convention, of course, but I just wonder if there is some fundamental difference between the two ways of phrasing)?

#6 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

My parents made me go to this private christian school for the later couple years of elementary school, because we lived in a small town with an atrocious public school that they didn't want me attending. Anyways they had this demerit system where you would get penalized for doing things they didn't like, and if you had 3 demerits at the end of the day you would have 30 minutes of detention (or an hour for 5.) Anyways, one of the ways to get a demerit was to say "can I" instead of "may I" when you were making a request. I was in the habit of saying "can I," and since we had to ask their permission to do every single little thing, I ended up getting detention nearly every day for like the entire first month I was there. The point of this story being, that I will never use the term "may I," ever, ever again, for any person, under any circumstances, because if I did, then they will have won.

Also language evolves and I think it's best not to hold it back for the sake of sounding proper.

#7 Edited by NTM (7321 posts) -

This is random, and not pertinent to this poll, but the Tron: Uprising soundtrack is out, and it, like the show is fantastic. Like this poll, I was just thinking about it, so I felt like mentioning it.

#8 Posted by Danteveli (1173 posts) -

Can I kick it?

#9 Posted by pyromagnestir (4283 posts) -

@Danteveli said:

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

#10 Edited by NTM (7321 posts) -

@RVonE: When saying can, it means that you're asking if you're able to do something. So say if you're in school, and you ask "Can I go to the restroom?" You're not asking for permission to do it, you're asking "Am I capable to go to the bathroom?" It has to do with ability. Can you lift 100 pound weights? Like that.

@Hunter5024: That school sounds like shit, and I agree with you.

#11 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (766 posts) -

Only when I say "Can I has your stuff?"

"May I has your stuff?" sounds weird.

#12 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19321 posts) -

Didn't know "can" was wrong in that context. Why?

#13 Posted by FLStyle (4649 posts) -

I always say can, never may.

#14 Edited by villainy (554 posts) -

@RVonE: I've always understood it as saying "Can I" is like asking if you are physically capable of doing something while "May I" is actually asking permission to do something you are capable of. No rational English speaking adult should give a shit about the usage.

Edit: I thought too hard and @NTM wins.

#15 Edited by NTM (7321 posts) -

@Zomgfruitbunnies: Neither sounds right actually, ha ha. Switch 'has' with have.

@FluxWaveZ: Look above.

#16 Posted by Kevin_Cogneto (1029 posts) -

I don't ask permission for nothin', son.

#17 Posted by TooWalrus (13155 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

Didn't know "can" was wrong in that context. Why?

I'm sure most of us don't know why it's wrong. We only know it's wrong because we asked our third grade teacher "can I go to the bathroom?" and got the snide response "well I sure hope you can!"

#18 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

It's common usage at this point. Even if it is technically wrong, it is still right.

#19 Posted by RVonE (4623 posts) -

@NTM: @villainy: Thanks, guys!

#20 Posted by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

I will never understand why people include joke questions in polls. It just makes the entire point of making a poll pointless. Anyway, I usually say May but some times can comes out. It only matters when you are in school and you have a cunt teacher that keeps screaming at you about it. God I hated the fucking bitch. To this day I can hear her harpy screech when I notice people saying can.

#21 Posted by Brendan (7734 posts) -

I does it the right way.

#22 Posted by Capum15 (4857 posts) -

Yes, and I know it's not correct but I just don't care. Never even think about it until someone brings it up.

#23 Posted by Ezakael (930 posts) -

I use may because my teachers would always say an annoying comment like "I don't know, can you?" so now it's a habit.

#24 Posted by NTM (7321 posts) -

@TooWalrus: Ha ha, yep.

@McGhee: Couldn't you say that for a bunch of things many people get wrong as well, like 'I could care less'? So many people say that.

@crusader8463: It was on my mind, but I agree, it's usually annoying and dumb that makes the poll seem less serious from the creator.

#25 Posted by LackingSaint (1783 posts) -

I almost never say "may I", it sounds really awkward and formal to me.

#26 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@NTM said:

@McGhee: Couldn't you say that for a bunch of things many people get wrong as well, like 'I could care less'? So many people say that.

Yes, you definitely could say it for many things people get wrong. There's a long list of them.

#27 Posted by NTM (7321 posts) -

@LackingSaint: Like, it's just not in your personality. That's understandable. Ask for some caviar afterwards and whatnot.

#28 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10855 posts) -

I think we're at a point as a society that can is correct, just informal.

Moderator
#29 Posted by MildMolasses (3218 posts) -

http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/can-or-may It's not wrong. You are allowed to use either. (sorry for a non-working link. Can't edit on ios)

#30 Posted by OmegaChosen (644 posts) -

@Ezakael said:

I use may because my teachers would always say an annoying comment like "I don't know, can you?" so now it's a habit.

This is why I still say can. Out of spite. That how you get your kicks, being snide to an eight year old?

I remember one time a teacher was really asinine about my phrasing when I really needed to go to the bathroom. I figured it was about can since I'd run into that before but even when I changed it she still wouldn't let me go until I "fixed" it. I stood there painfully holding it in for upwards of a minute in front of the class changing "can I go to the bathroom?" into "may I please use the bathroom please ma'am?" because I had no idea what was problem and oh god my bladder was going to explode. Then she rolled her eyes once I ran out of ways to add stuff and said "are going to take a bath?" and then I felt like punching her in the mouth.

So now I also exclusively say bathroom and dare people to correct me.

#31 Posted by NTM (7321 posts) -

@MildMolasses: That doesn't really explain why it's not incorrect, it just says it's either formal or not, and I don't see that as a good reason, it doesn't make much sense.

#32 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4669 posts) -

@OmegaChosen said:

@Ezakael said:

I use may because my teachers would always say an annoying comment like "I don't know, can you?" so now it's a habit.

This is why I still say can. Out of spite. That how you get your kicks, being snide to an eight year old?

I remember one time a teacher was really asinine about my phrasing when I really needed to go to the bathroom. I figured it was about can since I'd run into that before but even when I changed it she still wouldn't let me go until I "fixed" it. I stood there painfully holding it in for upwards of a minute in front of the class changing "can I go to the bathroom?" into "may I please use the bathroom please ma'am?" because I had no idea what was problem and oh god my bladder was going to explode. Then she rolled her eyes once I ran out of ways to add stuff and said "are going to take a bath?" and then I felt like punching her in the mouth.

So now I also exclusively say bathroom and dare people to correct me.

Teachers are cunts. All of them.

#33 Posted by bybeach (4772 posts) -

'Can' can be aggresssive in some context.

Depends

#34 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Anyone that says "I don't know can you?" Should be stabbed.

#35 Posted by MildMolasses (3218 posts) -

@NTM: You're being mislead by the premise that using "can" is somehow incorrect. The real question you should be asking is why they wouldn't consider "can" to be correct.

But the 'permission' use of can is not in fact incorrect in standard English.

The issue you seem to have (at least as I interpret your post) is that because you've been told it's wrong, that you need proof that it isn't. The fact is, it was never wrong. Impolite when addressing a teacher? Maybe. But grammatically, it was never unacceptable. It's like asking for a reason why not stealing isn't illegal.

#36 Posted by NTM (7321 posts) -

@MildMolasses: Ha ha. Do you think I made this thread as if I don't say can myself? To be honest, I don't care what people say, it doesn't bother me 'cause I almost always say can. I'm simply stating how it is. I don't however think what was mentioned in the link was evident enough to say it is in fact correct to say it, that was my point, not with what I believe about the topic.

#37 Posted by Ryuku_Ryosake (208 posts) -

I use can but I generally alternate between the two. I pretty much exclusively use may when asking permission so I can do something. While asking for someone to do something for me or give me something then I use can. Like "can I get some fries?". I think that's the correct usage but I'm pretty should I heard you are still supposed to use may for latter case.

#38 Posted by mlarrabee (2910 posts) -

My completely honest answer isn't one of the options, so I chose A.

My use of "may" and "can" is split fifty-fifty. I know when to use "may" but everyone around me uses "can" for the same reason I use it half of the time: it's what we're used to.

#39 Posted by TheUnsavedHero (1255 posts) -

I do it all the time. 'May' just sounds too formal even though it's right. I'm gonna try to see if I can break the habit. (hint: probably won't last long.)

#40 Posted by TyCobb (1961 posts) -

Well, this is quite odd. I had this exact discussion earlier with a co-worker. You can use "can". I refuse to believe that in American English, it is wrong. "Can" is also a synonym for "may". Both work when asking for permission.

#41 Posted by Turtlebird95 (2343 posts) -

I say may to teachers and bosses but everyone else I just say can.

#42 Posted by ThePencil (390 posts) -

"KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN you please pass the coloured crayons?"

As long as you say 'please' whilst making a request, t'aint hardly likely Imma care.

#43 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I don't ask for permission. I'm far too passive a bastard to do that.

#44 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

@OmegaChosen: And here I thought I would have the only response that involved a traumatic event during childhood.

#45 Posted by doosmacleod (187 posts) -

I circumvent it by saying "Do you mind if"

#46 Posted by BaconGames (3363 posts) -

I enjoy resenting people who point out that "may" is the proper way too much to change how I say it. Sometimes I say may, more often I say can.

#47 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

It's better to burn bridges than ask for permission or forgiveness.

#48 Posted by DeeGee (2119 posts) -

I don't want to be 'that guy', but I'm doing an English Language degree, so I feel qualified enough to say that it is not incorrect at all to use 'can' when asking for permission. Words and their meanings change with time. I believe someone has already said this in this thread already, but it's worth saying again.

The rules that people give to Standard English are vague and constantly changing. Things such as 'never end a sentence with a preposition" are good examples of this. It is perfectly fine and correct to end a sentence with a preposition in modern Standard English, and anyone who still teaches this archaic rule is merely attempting to ape the speech of a different time.

#49 Posted by D0tti (786 posts) -
@pyromagnestir said:

@Danteveli said:

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Can I kick it?
#50 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Blame the generation above me for starting it.