♪How to ask for permission – 許可を求める





Hi everyone! Thank you for tuning in to Time for English.

When you want to borrow a pen or ask a question, how do you seek permission to do so in English?

There are many ways, but let’s learn to ask for permission by using can, could and may today.

Can is informal but very commonly used. Can I use your pen?

Could is more formal and polite than can. Could I use your pen?

If you want to be even more formal and polite, use may. May I use your pen?

Now keep in mind, could is only used to ask for permission, not to give or refuse it. In other words, if someone asks you “Could I use your pen?”, you can’t say “Yes, you could” or “No, you couldn’t”. You should say, “Of course, you CAN” or “I’m afraid you CAN’T“.

I’ll continue to talk about how to deal with these “Can I…?” or “May I…?” questions on Thursday. So, please come visit our website.

In the meantime, I’ll give you a quiz. I’ll read three sentences. Please listen carefully and choose the one that is TRUE. Ready?

1. When you want to borrow a pen from your boss, you should ask “Can I borrow your pen?”
2. May is more formal and polite than can.
3. You can’t use could to ask for permission.





can はみんなが普通に使う表現です。Can I use your pen? 「ペン借りてもいい? 」といった感じです。

could は can よりも丁寧なよそ行きの表現です。Could I use your pen?「ペンをお借りできますか? 」

もっとフォーマルで丁寧な言い方をしたいなら may を使います。 May I use your pen?「ペンをお借りできますか? 」

ひとつ気をつけたいことがあります。could を使って許可を求めることはできますが、許可を与えたり拒んだりするときには使えません。例えば、誰かに Could I use your pen? と許可を求められたら「もちろん you can」とか「悪いけど you can’t」などと答えます。




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