Can I, May I, Should I

About time questions were asked properly

Didn't find your answer?

"Can I "- is it possible for me to do this (irrespective of consequences)

"May I" - Do I have permission or authority to do this (irrespective of consequences)

"Should I" - Is it wise for me to do this (what are the consequences?)

Three questions, and none requiring an answer here.

Replies (28)

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By tom123
21st Feb 2024 15:08

I had a biology teacher who, when asked "can I have a new exercise book" would usually reply "yes" but then take no further action - leaving the pupil mystified.

If said pupil said "may I" he (it was a boys school..) was rewarded with a new book.

Probably a good 40 years on I still recall this.

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Replying to tom123:
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By adam.arca
21st Feb 2024 16:52

Indeed. I have a very similar teacher story and with the same vintage too, coincidentally.

Pupil: “Can I open the window, please, sir?” (It was summer and absolutely baking)

Teacher: “Yes, Bloggs.”

Pupil moves from desk to open window

Teacher: “I didn’t say that you may open the window. That’s a detention you owe me.”

Pupil left absolutely baffled and not sure he grasped the distinction even when explained to him. But at least he wasn’t made to serve a detention.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By Barbara G
21st Feb 2024 17:38

I had a primary school teacher who when asked, "Miss, can I go to the toilet?" responded with, "I don't know, can you? Have you ever tried before?"

Not a good idea to reply like that to a four year old though. Messy consequences.

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Replying to Barbara G:
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By lionofludesch
21st Feb 2024 18:17

Barbara G wrote:

I had a primary school teacher who when asked, "Miss, can I go to the toilet?" responded with, "I don't know, can you? Have you ever tried before?"

Not a good idea to reply like that to a four year old though. Messy consequences.

Yeah - there's a line to be drawn there.

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By Roland195
21st Feb 2024 15:18

The majority of questions, if they are questions could be answered with:-

1. That is a legal matter. Consult a solicitor

2. You should make an SAR just in case

3. That would be an ecumenical matter

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Replying to Roland195:
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By FactChecker
21st Feb 2024 15:26

Actually all of them can be answered with a single response (much beloved both by consultants and politicians):
"That's a really interesting question" ... before proceeding to ignore it and trot out whatever they came to say before someone had the cheek to ask a question.

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By FactChecker
21st Feb 2024 15:23

"Three questions, and none requiring an answer here"
... but you know my opinion, the problem is that when an OP (typically unrepresented) opens with any of those - it's not simply the temptation to respond per Tom's teacher (who obviously did a great job all those years ago).

It's indicative of a sloppy way of thinking - often borne out by the lack of structure in the rest of the post + lack of clarity as to what issue is driving the question (which may turn out not to be the right question anyway).
And why is that a problem (aside of aggravating me and I assume others)?
Because it so often goes hand-in-hand with the 'personality type' that strenuously objects to any attempt to obtain the information upon which vaguely relevant suggestions might be supplied ... and toys are thrown out of the pram whilst accusing those terrible bullies (me and others) of 'showing off' unless a simple Yes or No can be supplied (probably to the unasked question)!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
21st Feb 2024 15:33

Might I ask why?

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By FactChecker
21st Feb 2024 16:03

Indeed you may.

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By Tax Dragon
21st Feb 2024 15:43

And might I ask how you are assessing Tom's knowledge of biology?

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By FactChecker
21st Feb 2024 16:06

There you go again, as Justin would put it, making assumptions. :=)

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By tom123
22nd Feb 2024 15:46

I got a grade B at 'A' level in the end..

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Replying to tom123:
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By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2024 16:08

tom123 wrote:

I got a grade B at 'A' level in the end..

Swot.

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By JB101
21st Feb 2024 16:00

Can't I, mayn't I and/or shouldn't I repsond?
Nope - not my problem!

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By Tax Dragon
21st Feb 2024 16:12
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By frankfx
21st Feb 2024 16:42

SteveHa wrote:

"Can I "- is it possible for me to do this (irrespective of consequences)

"May I" - Do I have permission or authority to do this (irrespective of consequences)

"Should I" - Is it wise for me to do this (what are the consequences?)

Three questions, and none requiring an answer here.

Kanhai, played cricket for the West Indies.

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Replying to frankfx:
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By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2024 14:21

frankfx wrote:

Kanhai, played cricket for the West Indies.

Good laiker.

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By Geoff56
21st Feb 2024 16:45

One of my pet hates, usually in a sandwich shop / cafe /pub, is when someone asks "Can I get.........."

Whatever happened to "May I have........"?

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Replying to Geoff56:
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By 356B
22nd Feb 2024 14:05

When faced with such a request whilst serving in the local sailing club, I always patiently explain that they're the wrong side of the bar to perform such an action.

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By Tom+Cross
21st Feb 2024 17:01

So. While I'm in the mood to 'reach out' to you all. Doesn't that grate?
IRIS have included such phrases in an email this afternoon. They've also suggested that they will 'share' my comments with their colleagues, in renewals.

I imagine their offices are full of workers literally, reaching out and sharing Rolos, on a grand scale.

For the youngsters, a Rolo is a chocolate toffee, which you don't share. And certainly not the last one.

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By AdamJones82
22nd Feb 2024 13:55

With those sort of emails, I am tempted to reply "are you from The Four Tops" but then most of them would be too young to know who they are!

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2024 14:19

"We're excited to announce ....."

Yeah, well, I'm not.

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By AdamJones82
22nd Feb 2024 13:54

I hate the awful Americanisms which have crept into our language.

Firstly, why is the word "very" all-but-extinct now and most people say "super" instead?

Secondlly, why do people below a certain age use the word "like" in sentences such as "I was, like, ....." I want to throw a blackboard rubber at them and shout "It's "I said", child"

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By Leywood
22nd Feb 2024 15:00

'I am writing to' as the first line of a letter or email!

Most of the 'Can I' brigade on here are the unrepesented unwashed looking for a freebie.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2024 15:22

I had a correspondent many years ago who started all his letters "I'am writing to you again to let you know that ....."

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By More unearned luck
22nd Feb 2024 17:27

To date I have resisted answering these type of questions 'of course you can Malcolm'.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Feb 2024 21:28

For the youngsters, a Vicks Sinex is an inhaler which you don't share.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Feb 2024 22:24

I absolutely get the OP's point btw: don't you just hate it when your mother-in-law "asks" you whether you want a cup of tea? Would I like a cup of tea? Well that sounds rather inviting, not to mention welcoming. Yes, please. But "do you want a cup of tea?" always makes me feel something of a nuisance. Don't bother... I'm not that thirsty. Stay on your broom!

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