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May vs. can't?



 
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May vs. can't? #1 (permalink) Mon Jun 07, 2010 15:53 pm   May vs. can't?
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #251 "Modal Verbs (3)", question 1

You ......... be able to catch a ride with Jim. You should ask him before he leaves the office.

(a) could
(b) may
(c) can
(d) can't

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #251 "Modal Verbs (3)", answer 1

You may be able to catch a ride with Jim. You should ask him before he leaves the office.

Correct answer: (b) may

Your answer was: incorrect
You can't be able to catch a ride with Jim. You should ask him before he leaves the office.
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why we use may? it's not fit for this sentence.
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Test incompl/elem-251, User's Answer 1 #2 (permalink) Mon Jun 07, 2010 16:11 pm   Test incompl/elem-251, User's Answer 1
 

"May" is fit for this sentence. It means the possibility exists, which is clearly what the speaker intends to convey.

"Can't" is redundant in the first sentence, and it contradicts the second.

You can't be able to catch a ride with Jim.

This is the equivalent sentence:

You cannot catch a ride with Jim.

If that were true, the second sentence would not tell you to ask him for a ride.
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May vs. can't? #3 (permalink) Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:17 am   May vs. can't?
 

Hi All,

Why 'can' is not used in this Sentence? Can any tell what is the difference between 'Can and May'?

Advance thanks,
Nandhini
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May vs. can't? #4 (permalink) Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:49 am   May vs. can't?
 

"You can be able to catch a ride' does not work. To use 'can' the sentence would need to be changed: 'You can have a ride with Jim'.
This would then indicate the ability to have a ride with him.
The original sentence indicates the possibility (having 'permission') of getting a ride, not the ability to get a ride, so 'might' or 'may' is needed.

This is a simple general rule:
http://www.english-grammar-lessons.co.uk/easily_confused/can_may.htm

There is further information here:
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs/modal-verbs/certain-probable-or-possible
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs/modal-verbs/ability-permission-requests-and-advice
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May vs. can't? #5 (permalink) Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:58 am   May vs. can't?
 

Hi Beeesneees,
These links are very useful to me,i came to know what the modal verbs uses.Thanks a lot
Nandhini_Devi
I'm new here and I like it ;-)


Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 35
Location: Chennai, India

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