1. elprincipeoigres Senior Member

    Bs As, Argentina
    Español
    Hello!
    I have a doubt;

    I am at scohol, I want to go to the bathroom and my teacher is teaching a lesson. What is the best way to ask permission?

    ''Can I go to the bathroom?''
    ''May I go to the bathroom?''

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. sneaksleep Senior Member

    Officially, it is more correct to ask "May I go to the bathroom?" However, most native speakers say "Can I go to the bathroom." Either one will be understood. This makes me laugh, because when I was in 3rd grade, our teacher wouldn't permit any students to go to the bathroom unless they used may instead of can. :)
     
  3. miamijaguey Senior Member

    Miami, Florida, USA
    English, USA
    La manera más aceptada (como te dirían la gran mayoría de profesoras) es "May I", lo cual implica el pedir permiso. Decir "Can I" es bastante común, pero como muchos insisten, eso quiere decir "Am I able to", o "tengo la habilidad de.... ir al baño". Así que tienes las dos posibilidades que se usan, pero decir May I es la forma más correcta para pedir permiso.
     
  4. unspecified

    unspecified Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English, USA
    "May I go to the bathroom?" is more correct than "Can I go to the bathroom?" though people would understand you either way.

    If you said, "Can I..." it could be considered like asking "?Soy capaz de urinar?" and for that someone might make a joke out of it...
     
  5. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    I agree with sneaksleep. The reason behind it is that can actually means Am I able to go to the bathroom, while may is the proper word for asking permission (Do I have permission to go to the bathroom).
     
  6. Kane

    Kane Senior Member

    Spain
    French - Canada
    Hi,


    When I asked something to my father like: “Dad can I borrow your car?” A typical answer was: “Yes you can but you may not.”

    That is to say, that you use can for possibility and may for permission.

    In your case, you are asking permission; therefore, you must use may.



    Hasta luego
     
  7. elprincipeoigres Senior Member

    Bs As, Argentina
    Español
    You know, I've heard some story about that.
    A little girl asked permission to go to the bathroom and she said ''Can I go to the bathroom?'' and her teacher said ''I don't know, Can you?'' But if you ask me what is the moral of these story... I probably answer you 'I don't know'.
    I don't know exactly what that means... :) But sounds cool!
     
  8. miamijaguey Senior Member

    Miami, Florida, USA
    English, USA
    Es como decir: ¿Puedo ir al baño? y la respuesta: No sé, puedes?

    En vez de decir ¿Me da permiso de ir al baño? y la respuesta: Sí, tienes permiso.
     
  9. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English

    The teacher is using this situation as an example to teach the little girl the difference between can and may.

    ¿Soy capaz de orinar?
    No sé...¿lo eres?

    versus

    ¿Me permite ir al baño?
    Sí, tienes permiso de ir al baño.
     
  10. elprincipeoigres Senior Member

    Bs As, Argentina
    Español
    Yes, I imagined that!
     

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