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Giving And Asking For Permission, And Making And Responding To Preventions In English

W riting this material reminds me of one of the most amusing experiences that I have had during my long years of being an English teacher. T...

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August 05, 2022

Giving And Asking For Permission, And Making And Responding To Preventions In English

Asking For Permission
W
riting this material reminds me of one of the most amusing experiences that I have had during my long years of being an English teacher. That day, I was teaching a class when a boy student got up from his chair and walked to me. Then he spoke to me in Indonesian, asking for permission to go to the bathroom. I rejected and asked him to use English. Responding to my requirement, he said, "Sir, I am toilet." And the class burst out laughing.

Do you know why? Yes, the sentence "Sir, I am toilet." is NOT the correct expression to say when you are requesting or asking for permission to leave the classroom and go to the bathroom. Now, in order for us not to make a similar mistake when we are requesting permission, let's study the following expressions.

A. Using Modals: "Can I", "Could I", "May I":
Using "Can I", "Could I", "May I"Verb 1
Can I
Could I
May I
go to the bathroom?
use your car?
close the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
Yes, you can.
Sure, please do.
Certainly, go ahead.
Yes, of course
No problem
By all means.
Yes, why not?
No, sorry.
I’m sorry, you can’t.
No, I’m afraid not ....
I'm afraid you can't do that.
You're now allowed to ....
You should not ....
B. Using "Would you mind ...?":
Using "Would you mind if ...?"subject + Verb 2 (Simple Past)?
Would you mind ifI went to the bathroom?
I used your car?
I closed the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
No, not at all.
Certainly not.
Please do.
No, go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
Yes, I would.
Certainly.
C. Using "Do you mind ...?":
Using "Do you mind if ...?"subject + Verb 1 (Simple Present)?
Do you mind ifI open the window?
I leave now?
I close the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
No, I don't.
No, not at all.
Certainly not.
Please do.
No, go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
Yes, I do.
Certainly.
Note: Be careful when responding to a request using "Would you mind ...?". The response "Yes, certainly" would indicate that "you would mind". Hence, if you have objection to the request and do not want to give permission, the response should be "Yes, certainly", "Yes, I do". If you have no objection, the appropriate response would be "No, I don't mind", or "No, please be my guest."
D. Using Other forms:
Using "wonder"subject + could + Verb 1 (Simple Past)?
I wonder ifI could borrow your dictionary.
I could use your car.
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
Yes, certainly.
Please do.
Why not? Go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
I'm sorry, but I'm still using it.
E. Making Preventions:
Making Preventions
I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
I wouldn’t take the risk if I were in your shoes. It’s too risky.
(I think) it’s not a good idea.
Responding to Preventions
Allright. I’ll consider that.
I’ll think about that.
I’ll think it over.
I’ll reschedule my plan.
Please do.
Why not? Go ahead.
F. Example Dialogues.
Short Dialogue 1
Man : Excuse me, could I try this shirt?
Woman : Yes, please. There's a fitting room over there, near the counter.
Short Dialogue 2
Man : Do you mind if I use your computer to type this letter?
Woman : No, not at all. Please do.
Short Dialogue 3
Woman : May I open the windows? It's very stuffy here.
Man : I'm afraid you can't. The wind is very strong outside.
Short Dialogue 4
Man : Can I put my luggage here?
Woman : That's okay, but please don't be too long.
G. EXERCISE
Write short dialogues like the above examples about permissions based on the following situations.
  1. Your camera is out of battery. You want to borrow your friend's camera.
  2. It's getting late. You should leave your friend's house and go home.
  3. It's very windy and dusty outside. You want to close the windows.
  4. You forgot to bring your charger. You need to use your friend's phone charger.
  5. You want to turn on your television.
  6. You want to go to a movie with your best friends.
  7. You want to visit your friend at the hospital this afternoon. You ask for permission to your mother.
  8. You cannot use your motorcycle to come to your friend's party. You ask your best friend to lend you his motorcycle.
  9. Your pen suddenly runs out. You want to use your deskmate's pen but he is still using it.
  10. You want to go to the beach, but your parents do not allow you to go because the weather is bad.
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