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Acceptable to use 'can' in requests

Posted by admin-ngenglishyuk Selasa, 10 April 2012

Below is the response for "Common English mistakes made here"  post.  Mr Daniel Marden, Senior English-Language Teacher Inlingua School Of Languages In Singapore, show his opinion regarding the usage of "Can". This article was posted in mypaper newspaper dated 9 April 2012.

Acceptable to use 'can' in requests

I REFER to Ms Pamela Chong Kwang Ngo's letter, "Common English mistakes made here" (my paper, April 3).
She states that requests should be in the form of "Would you" or "May I", rather than "Can you" or "Can I". While this may have been the case several years ago, it has become perfectly acceptable to use "can" in requests.

In fact, it is such a versatile word that it can be used for many functions, six of which I have listed:

1. To refer to ability
For instance: "I can speak English."

2. To ask for permission, or state what is permitted
For example: "Can I sit here?" or "You can't smoke on the MRT."

3. To make a request
For example: "Can you open the window, please?"

4. To speculate
For example: "He's not wearing a wedding ring. He can't be married."

5. To mean 'is often'
For example: "It can be be cold in January."

6. To mean 'is free to', in the future
For example: "The doctor can see you tomorrow."

On another note, we would not "send someone off at the airport".
We would instead "see them off", which means "to accompany someone who is leaving to a point of departure".

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2 Responses to Acceptable to use 'can' in requests

  1. Anonim Says:
  2. Serius, blognya bermanfaat banget. Apa yg saya cari ada semua. Kebetulan saya mau tau tentang "rather" atau "rather than" atau apalah itu, tapi saya baru baca sampai postingan juni 2009, kira-kira udah dibahas belum?

  3. Tutarni : Terima kasih atas tutorial pembelajaran yang diberikan, akan dicoba semoga berhasil dan terus di update ya blog yang keren ini :)


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