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English Grammar Reference: Permission - Can, Could, May


When we ask for permission to do something we use can, could, may. May is the most formal.


Can I go to the party?
Could I ask a question?
May I sit here?

If we want to be more polite we can use the following construction:

Do you mind if I

base form of verb


Do you mind if I

open the window?


Do you mind if I

sit here?


Do you mind if I

ask you a question?


See also:

English Grammar Reference: Introduction to modal verbs

English Grammar Reference: Asking people to do something