You are good at telling jokes.maxiogee said:Employee A: How could I help you today?
Customer: You could walk my dog, babysit my children and bring my elderly mother to her dental appointment!
Employee: Don't be ridiculous, this is a car sales showroom!
Despite this being accepted in common speech, it is grammatically innacurate. It is true, it gives a more polite atmosphere when saying ''How could I help you?''. But strictly speaking grammatically, the use of ''could'' is in respect to the conditional of the verb ''can''.How could I help you?
Could is not the right word for the sentence offering assistance.jokker said:You are good at telling jokes.
Seriously, back to the topic, does this joke mean that it's too polite to use "could" in such sentences?
But doesn't it a good thing being polite?
Could you give me a hand?
Could you tell me what it means?
Concerning the specific sentence How can I help you?river said:Svartvik & Sager in their university grammar (1996) claim that may and might are often considered more "correct" than can/could, but that "in fact can and could are normally preferred in informal educated usage, especially in British English." (p. 123).
bartonig said:Concerning the specific sentence How can I help you?
I agree with most with River. However, if when I hear may or might used (which is rare these days) I think that the speaker has learnt their English watching dated films or reading dated novels. In modern British English we say can or, could.