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Please can/may I borrow your book!


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#81 Northern Sol

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:30 PM

Is that a book normal people would enjoy or is it only for the saddest of anoraks?


It wouldn't be much interest unless you work in the EFL industry.

#82 Northern Sol

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:35 PM

Not untrue. (You accept the point in a later post, by the way) I was referring to the degree of formality. "Could I have a beer, please?" is a more polite (formal) way of asking for a beer than "Can I have a beer, please?" We don't normally use formal English in an informal context, for example when using the spoken language rather than the written one, or talking to a friend rather than a respected elder. The informal language is very relaxed about usage and only a complete idiot (or pedant) would pick up on his friends use of "Can I borrow your book?" rather than "May i borrow your book?"


It's not just a question of formality but also what you are asking for. You might not even bother with "can" when requesting something small from a friend and use an imperative instead but if you were asking to borrow his car then you would use "Could" or even more "formal" constructs such as "Do you mind if...?"..

#83 tonyXIII

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:08 PM

It's not just a question of formality but also what you are asking for. You might not even bother with "can" when requesting something small from a friend and use an imperative instead but if you were asking to borrow his car then you would use "Could" or even more "formal" constructs such as "Do you mind if...?"..


Exactly so. And that is part of the beauty of the English language. It is capable of expressing the tiniest nuances of meaning. It is also what makes it very difficult for non-native speakers to learn to a truly fluent level.

(I know other languages can express nuance, but, IMO, English does it best :) )

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#84 marklaspalmas

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:32 PM

Is that a book normal people would enjoy or is it only for the saddest of anoraks?


File under anoraks, I'd say.

Although not aimed at general readers, some may find it interesting. It was quite revolutionary at the time in some ways. Lewis would come out with what looks like a controversial statement such as "there is no future tense in English", and then carefully explain how that's obviously true. And then most importantly for teachers, explain how that should affect the way English is taught.

 

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#85 gingerjon

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:52 PM

File under anoraks, I'd say.

Although not aimed at general readers, some may find it interesting. It was quite revolutionary at the time in some ways. Lewis would come out with what looks like a controversial statement such as "there is no future tense in English", and then carefully explain how that's obviously true. And then most importantly for teachers, explain how that should affect the way English is taught.


Can you summarise that in a few lines? I could win some major pub arguments with stuff like that.
Cheer up, RL is actually rather good
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#86 Wolford6

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:38 AM

Can you summarise that in a few lines? I could win some major pub arguments with stuff like that.


Human nature and drinking habits being what they are, it's safe to say that nobody ever wins a pub argument unless it degenerates into actual fighting. Otherwise, any "victory" is purely delusional and temporary.

Another quality night down the Irish Club tonight.

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#87 hindle xiii

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:22 AM

Did Saint Billinge ever recieve the book?

On Odsal Top baht 'at.


#88 hindle xiii

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:26 AM

To me, "could" sounds like it would be used in a question with options, whereas "can" is more an inferred "yes" but polite to ask.

Could I have a word?
Can I have a word?

This first leaves the availability of a sarcastic "you could... but I don't want to". Either way, whichever question is asked you're in trouble.

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#89 marklaspalmas

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:40 AM

Can you summarise that in a few lines? I could win some major pub arguments with stuff like that.


The way Lewis goes about it is (briefly):

Is 'will' the future? No. Well, sometimes, but not always. 'Will you help me?' is about a present time request. 'I'll get the phone' is also a present instant decision. So there are various situations when 'will' is not about the future.

Is the future 'will'? Mostly no. 'Im having dinner with my wife this evening' is future time but present continuous tense. 'The match kicks off at 8pm' is future time, but present simple tense. 'Im going to the beach on Saturday' is also future time. So expressing the future involves a few different tenses.

Therefore, teaching students will=future or future =will is plain wrong.

 

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#90 Saint Billinge

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

Did Saint Billinge ever recieve the book?


Read it three times. :D

#91 hindle xiii

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

Read it three times. :D

Please can/may you return my book?

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#92 Wolford6

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:40 PM

Please can/may you return my book?


Not till he's finished colouring it in. B)

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#93 Saint Billinge

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:01 PM

Please can/may you return my book?


Drat! I have loaned it out, or should it be lent it out? :D

#94 gingerjon

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:06 PM

Posted Image
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#95 hindle xiii

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

Drat! I have loaned it out, or should it be lent it out? :D

You should of arksed.

That winds me up, and "somethink".

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#96 Wolford6

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:58 PM

That winds me up, and "somethink".


I think you're confusing it with "somefink"


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#97 gingerjon

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:59 PM

My former boss' wife was a junior school headmistress. She once got a letter from a parent saying that a child had been absent for the past few days with a sore froat


I'd blame poor teaching.
Cheer up, RL is actually rather good
- Severus, July 2012

#98 JohnM

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:16 PM

I think you're confusing it with "somefink"


My former boss' wife was a junior school headmistress. She once got a letter from a parent saying that a child had been absent for the past few days with a sore froat


the parent may have been right. see http://www.urbandict....php?term=Froat

#99 marklaspalmas

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:23 PM

Please may you return my book?


That one's incorrect I'm afraid.





I can't help myself. ;)

 

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#100 gingerjon

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:45 PM

It can't be incorrect if it can be understood.
Cheer up, RL is actually rather good
- Severus, July 2012




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