Asking for and giving permission

January 23, 2013

So you want to use something that belongs to someone else. If you do it without their permission, you might land in trouble. While asking for permission you have to sound as polite as you can. Remember that if you use polite language, your chances of getting permission are high. The easiest way to make a request polite is by using the word ‘please’. Here are some example sentences.

  • Can I use your computer, please?
  • Can I play games on your cell phone, please?
  • Can I have a look at your drawings?
  • May I come in, Sir?
  • Can I go now?
  • May I taste that spicy dish?
  • Can I put the heating on?
  • Can I borrow your car?
  • Can I park here?

Giving Permission:

To give permission, you can use one of the following phrases.

  • Yes, please do.
  • Of course.
  • No problem.
  • Sure, go ahead.
  • Please feel free.

If you want to deny permission, you can use one of the following phrases.

  • I’m afraid not.
  • I’m sorry, but that is not possible.
  • I’m afraid, but you can’t.



Mary is asking her brother for permission to ride his bicycle.

Mary: Please John, can I ride your bicycle?

John: No dear, you can’t. You are too young to ride a bicycle without supporting wheels.

Mary: But I can ride it with your help. Won’t you help me, please?

John: Sure.

Mary: Thank you very much.