Home > Grammar > Intermediate Grammar – Could you? Could I? May I?

Intermediate Grammar – Could you? Could I? May I?

Hey, hey!

Today is the perfect day to review some grammar. Welcome to another Intermediate lesson!

What will we be learning today? How to make formal requests.

You can find all of this information, plus speaking exercises, writing exercises, vocabulary exercises and more on the ABA English Course Unit 52 “The boss’s mother”.

Formal requests

Remember that the verb “can” is used to make requests or give permission.

For example: 

Can I ask you something?”

“You can go home now”

But, if we want to make a request or give permission in a more formal style, then we use the modal verbs “could” or “may” in place of the verb “can”.

For example:

Could I ask you a question, please?”

“You may go home now, if you please”

Answers to formal requests

Let’s have a look at common answers to formal requests:

Could you lend me your handbag?” “Yes, of course”

Could you help me carry this upstairs?” “I’m sorry, I’m very busy”

May I use your bathroom” “Of course!”

Remember that when we are asking for help, we use “can” or “could” but not “may”.  So we can say “Can you help me?” and “Could you help me?” but NOT “May you help me?”.



In Unit 52 “The boss’s mother”, Mr and Mrs Sloane’s assistant. Find out why Mr Sloane hates waiting! By watching the ABA Film, you will practice your listening comprehension. Record your voice and compare phrases to improve your speaking and learn how to write correctly. You will also gain fluency by interpreting roles and then you will learn the grammar and new vocabulary.

We hope you enjoyed this lesson!

Discover your app
for learning English

About Kate

Kate is a teacher and ABA's Social Media Strategist. As well as being a lover of all things content and community, she has been teaching English for over 10 years and has taught in Cambodia, India and Spain.

Check Also

shall with offers and suggestions

Using “shall” to make offers and suggestions

Hey ABA family! Often in English when we make offers and suggestions, we tend to ...

Leave us a comment