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David-wen
Can I or could I Can I look at the book? Could I look at the book? When you are asking someone for a permission having a look at a book owned by him/her, which one above is correct?
Mar 8, 2014 6:17 AM
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Answers · 7
Could is grammatically proper for a request, although the preferred formal way would be "May I look at the book?" either one is proper. Can is used to express ability to do something. Technically, asking "can I look at the book?" is asking someone if you are physically able to look at it. However, please note that only English / grammar teachers would be likely to say anything about using "can" in this case, and that most native speakers will use can in this situation. Could or may would be more appropriate in formal situations, as they sound more respectful, and a little old-fashioned. But the short answer is, you could use any of those in any case, realistically (unless you're writing University essays, or business papers where proper grammar is very important, then using could / may would be preferred).
March 8, 2014
both ,,, but u use "can" for ppl like ur friends not ppl who u dont know them u use "could" for ppl who u donthe know them. its more polite
March 8, 2014
"Could" is the conditional tense form of "can" and therefore, does not sound as direct as "can". As the name of the tense suggests, "could" implies that your request is subject to the condition of the person to whom you are speaking whereas "can" sounds like an order/command. If I were in public and speaking to a stranger, I would most definitely use "could"! But among friends and family, you can use either and it probably won't make much of a difference! :)
March 10, 2014
ı think can I look at that book..all I know could is used to express activities that you can do in past time..or for possibility
March 8, 2014
Both are correct. But "Can I look at the book?" is better i think. COULD is used when you are less sure about what you are talking.
March 8, 2014
David-wen
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English