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How to tell when "may" means permission or possibility? e.g: He may leave at 9?
Feb 22, 2012 9:59 AM
Answers · 2
used to express possibility There may be other problems that we don't know about. I may see you tomorrow before I leave. The cause of the accident may never be discovered. The explosion may have been caused by a faulty electrical connection. We'd better not interfere - she may not like it. There may be some evidence to suggest she's guilty, but it's hardly conclusive.
February 22, 2012
Giving permission, making requests and offering suggestions require the speaker to be aware of levels of formality. Use may to ask permission. Can is commonly used in speech to ask permission. It is also more commonly used in questions and negative sentences. May I smoke here? You may use your cellphone in the restaurant patio. You may not go in there now. He's busy. formal
February 22, 2012
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, Japanese, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese, Spanish