As part of this year’s pragmatics series, we bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.
The previous language tip looked at some of the ways of expressing approval and disapproval.
This week’s tip, which is the last in the series, looks at ways of asking and giving permission.
Can I…? the most usual and general way of asking permission:
Can I take your car to work tomorrow?
May I…? a more formal and polite way of asking permission:
May I use the phone?
Would it be all right if/Is it all right if/Do you mind if… ? used when asking permission, for showing you do not want to interrupt or annoy someone:
Would it be all right if I turned the radio off?
Do you mind if I open a window?
You can: the most usual and general way of giving permission:
You can take the big bag as well if you like.
I don’t see why not: used for saying yes when someone asks your permission to do something:
‘Could I stay the night at Ann’s?’ ‘I don’t see why not, so long as you’re home before lunch tomorrow.’
Help yourself: used informally for giving someone permission to have, do or use something:
‘Do you mind if I use the phone?’ ‘Help yourself.’
If you (really) must: used for giving someone permission to do something, even though you do not really want them to do it:
‘Is it all right if I invite Bob to the party?’ ‘If you must, but you know I don’t like him.’
Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page where the eleventh of our life skills lesson plans was published recently. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.Email this Post