- Language Note
|part of speech:
||to be able to; have the ability to.
She can play the piano.
- similar words:
||to have the power or right to.
Only the boss can hire and fire employees.
||to have permission to.
Can I borrow your umbrella?
Nowadays, it is very common to use can
with the meaning of "to have permission to do something," but some people feel that only may
should be used for that meaning. They feel that can
should only be used to describe ability to do something. When people accept the use of both can
for the meaning of permission, they agree that may
sounds more formal than can