Dictionary.com Word FAQs

When do you use may and when do you use can?

The difference in the use of these words is between 'being able' (can) and 'being allowed or permitted' (may). May also denotes possibility. Examples: Can you grow bananas in the desert? = Are you able to grow bananas in the desert? / May I please have a banana? = Can I be allowed to have a banana?

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