Confused Words : Can and May

Confused Words Can and May in English

Common Mistakes using Can & May

Misunderstood words : Can and May

Some English words like : Can and May are often confused, misused, or used with the wrong preposition while speaking or writing English sentences. We have discussed here correct version and explanation that will help you to avoid making the same mistakes while speaking or writing English.

Confuse words Can and May

The words ‘Can’ and ‘May’ confused many English speakers. The key difference between ‘can’ and ‘may’ is that ‘can’ talks about ability and ‘may’ talks about permission. Can and may are both auxiliary verbs, also known as helping verbs. Both can and may are commonly used interchangeably in respect to permission.

Meaning of Can and May:

: talks about ability or to ask or give permission informally.
: used to discuss possibility or to ask or give permission formally.

Note: Can and may are both auxiliary verbs.

Uses of Can and May:
'Can' is used when someone has the ability to do something, or allow permission to do something.
Examples using Can:
  • To talk about ability.
  • Birds can fly.
  • I can whistle.
  • I can play cricket.
  • He can lift 150 kgs.
  • I can call you if you want.
  • I can do it in the best way.
  • This can change the way we work.
  • Team Mumbai can win this match.
  • I can finish my homework by 11 pm.
  • To ask for permission informally.
  • Can I use your pen?
  • Can I use your bathroom?
  • Can I ask you a question?
  • Can I see that photograph?
  • Can my daughter attend the party.
  • To give permission informally.
  • You can use my pen.
  • You can call me later.
  • You can use my computer.
  • You can attend lacture from today.
  • You can take selfies with foreigners.
'May' is used to discuss possibility or happenings in the future. It is also used to take or give permission for doing something.
Examples using May:
  • To express wish.
  • May you find peace.
  • May the lord protect you.
  • May his soul rest in peace.
  • To express possibility.
  • It may rain tomorrow.
  • I may be late to this meeting.
  • It may rain during the cricket match.
  • To ask for permission.
  • May I use your phone?
  • May I go to the party?
  • May I use your bathroom?
  • To give permission.
  • You may go now.
  • You may play outside.
  • You may borrow my pen.

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