Can vs. May

People often use can when they mean may, perhaps because they feel may sounds too formal. Each has a precise meaning, and should be used accordingly.

Can indicates that you are able to perform a task.

I can lift a bowling ball with my pinky finger.

Use may to indicate you are permitted to engage in the activity.

The accounting staff may use the company van to attend the Metallica concert.

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Tom Fuszard, content writer, blog writing, pr writing, web copy



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