You may not talk like that . . .

August 26, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

Several weeks ago I passed this restroom door, which was located in a grocery store.

Cannot?  Oh yeah?  That sign made me want to prove the sign wrong by carrying tons of merchandise into the restroom until it was completely full of merchandise.

I don’t know why the “can” vs. “may” error gripes me so much–perhaps it’s because I hear and see this problem so often, and also because it seems that it would be so very easy to understand the problem and stop making the error.

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Category: Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Of course, “may” comes from the same root word as “might” and originally meant that it is in your power to do so. The specialization for having permission is rather late.

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