Friday, August 12

Avalon: Modal Verbs May (Permission) x Can (Ability)

This scene seems to be especially made for teachers of English who are teaching the difference between CAN and MAY. This grammar point can be quite confusing for Brazilians, because both modals have the same translation - poder - in Portuguese, so the meaning can be unclear for us. This segment helps students understand the difference.

I. Match the verbs with the definition:

1. CAN

2. MAY

( ) It is if you are capable of doing something.

( ) It is asking for permission.

II. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.

III. Now read the dialog between a Brazilian teacher of English and a Brazilian student. Then complete the blanks with Can or May.

*Cultural note:
The native language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese.

T - Hello, students.

S - Hello, teacher. __________ I go to the restroom?

T - Not now. After class, OK?

S - Okay. _______ I speak Portuguese*?

T - Only if it is really important. Is it?

S - No, it isn't. __________ I do the homework now?

T - Not now. It is HOME work, dear.

S - Okay, teacher. But _______ I do the homework or is it very difficult?

T - The homework is easy, relax.

S - ____ I speak English like an American?

T - Well, not now, but in a near future...

S - Great! _______ I drink some water now?

Answer key:

I. 1, 2

III. may, may, may, can, can, may