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can I / may I

(10 Posts)
loobeylou Wed 08-Oct-08 22:43:00

reading one of the threads here reminded me of my primary school teacher, who when the class PITA asked "can I go to the toilet?"

replied "if you are asking whether you CAN, I don't know, you need to see a doctor. If you are asking whether you MAY, the answer is NO"

thought you pedants would like that

katch Wed 08-Oct-08 22:46:48

Alan Carr has a great routine on this - to the teacher's smart-ass comments, he puts hand up and says 'may I have a mop sir, I've effing p----d meself now?' You have to be there.

MrsMuddle Wed 08-Oct-08 23:47:48

Or, as my mum used to say, "You can, if you're physically able."

LemonyAle Thu 09-Oct-08 00:09:15

[cringes] A very sadistic older male primary school teacher once used this to humiliate me in front of the class sad

My Mum was an English teacher and always corrected our grammar, so I grew up using "may I" if I was requesting permission to do something.

Each class had a "communal" heavy-duty pencil sharpener on the teacher's desk, so I went up and said "may I sharpen my pencil?" - not loud, everyone else was working/chatting etc, but the teacher raised his voice (he was very scary so everyone shut up straight away) and said "Did you hear that children? LemonyAle said 'MAY I sharpen my pencil' not 'CAN I sharpen my pencil'. We all know she CAN, but it's up to me whether she MAY or not".

Cue mass daggers from most of the class - I was a bit of a swot but trying hard to fit in (aged 9 in the next year up), and this just set me back to square one trying to make friends sad

FabioCatello Thu 09-Oct-08 00:13:15

lol at alan carr

LemonyAle Thu 09-Oct-08 00:16:32

LOL at Alan Carr too Fabio - l'esprit d'escalier isn't in it grin

LadyGlencoraPalliser Thu 09-Oct-08 00:19:30

Oh god, my children are not allowed to leave the table after dinner unless they ask if they MAY leave. Have I set them up for a lifetime of being mocked and ostracised?

FabioCatello Thu 09-Oct-08 00:27:15

I heart alan carr for what he said about Norman Kember

It's funny. Wrong, but funny.

LemonyAle Thu 09-Oct-08 00:42:55

No LadyGP, you are equipping them with politeness/nuance-skills which actually do still matter. School years rough nevertheless IME.

LemonyAle Thu 09-Oct-08 00:51:40

Fabio - PMSL at Norman Kember grin [feels guilty]

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