Modal Verbs for permission and requests


1. To help learners to understand the use of modal verbs for permission and requests.
2. For learners to be able to choose the right modal verbs to fill in the proper sentence.


1. Study through the content in this chapter.
2. Then, practice and do an exercise after the lesson.

Let's look at permission and request. We used 'May' , 'Could' and 'Can' to do this for both giving permission and asking requests.
1. May I have birthday balloons?
2. Could I borrow your party hat?
3. Can she have a cookie?

May is the most polite modal verb among three of them which is used to ask for permission.
Here are some examples:
1. May I turn your music up?
2. May I have another piece of cake?
3. May I go to the washroom?

The polite answers using may are as follows:
Yes, you may.
No, you may not.

Could is also used to ask for permission. It is less formal than using may.
Here are some examples with could:
1. Could I have some more juice?
2. Could I bring a friend to the party?
3. Could I turn the radio up?

The polite answers using can are as follows:
Yes, you could.
No, you couldn't

Can is the least formal of the modal verbs used to ask permission.
Here are some examples with can:
1. Can I play music
2. Can I shut the windows down?
3. Can I bring food with me?

The polite answers using can are as follows:
Yes, you can
No, You cannot

You have learned about permission with modal verbs. Are you ready for some exercise? Now choose the correct verb for these sentences:

1. ____ I speak the host of this party, please?

2. ____ you open the window, please? It's hot in here.

3. ____ you buy two piece of birthday cake on your way home?

4. ____ you mind if I borrow your dress for an hour or so?

5. ____ I go to the toilet?