Giving and Asking for Permission
Asking permission is a social skill that is a need in any culture. On the other hand, being able to allow someone to do something is another skill. Read more.
What Is the General Rule of Asking for Permission?
It is socially important to look at the people when you are talking to them, then you have to ask for permission with a pleasant and polite voice. On the other hand, people have to give permissions with a logical explanation and in a polite way. Now let us learn the grammatical rules to be polite and gentle while contacting people in society.
Asking for Permission
Here are three main words that are used to ask for permission. To be clear these three words are all modal verb.
Using 'Can' (Present)
You can use the modal verb 'can' to ask for permission, however, this is not considered a polite way and it is more direct especially when you are talking to a person who has authority over you.
Using 'May' (Present)
Using 'may' is a very polite and formal way to ask for permission for something or to do something. So, this is a suitable way to ask for permission from the one who has authority over you, such as your boss or teacher.
Using 'Could' (Present)
As you may know the modal verb 'could' is the past tense of the modal verb 'can.' But when asking for permissions, it is used in the present tense. And it is a polite way of asking for permission.
To make yourself more polite you can use the term please at the end of the question. Usually, there is a comma before the word 'please.' Check out the examples.
May I sit down,
Can I use your phone,
Do You Mind If ?
This expression is used to ask for permission or to be clearer, it refers to asking if doing something bothers anybody. In this case, you are more determined. This does not mean you do it in any case, no matter what, but you are more decisive.
Using First-person Singular Pronoun
Would I Be Able to?
This expression is used to ask for permission as well. When we use this expression, we are not decisive to do the particular action, and we are just asking for permission. Check out the examples.
Phrases and Expressions to Give Permissions
There are some phrases and expressions that are used to give permission to others in a polite way. Here we have some of them on the list.
- Go ahead
- Sure, please do.
- No problem
- Feel Free
- Yes, you can.
- Yes, you may.
Check out the dialogues for more clarification:
There are some phrases and expressions that are used to refuse someone's request for permission, 'politely'. Here are some of them on the list below.
- I am terribly sorry, but the answer is 'no'.
- I am afraid, you can't.
- It is not possible.
- No, you may not.
Check out the dialogue for more clarification.
To Be Allowed to Do Something
We use to be allowed to do something whether to give permission or ask for it. Look at the examples for more clarification.
Modal verbs such as could, may, can are used to ask permission. Mong these verbs only may and can are used to give permission. Check the table of tenses that these verbs are used in.