Confusing Terms from the English VocabularyJanuary 28, 2019
There are many words that confuse us in many ways, sometimes with their meanings, sometimes with their usage.
The word “can” is used on many occasions where the actual intention is to use “may”.
When you “can” do something, it means you have the capability to do something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do it.
For instance, you “can” jump off a building. But obviously, you won’t!
On the other hand, when you use “may”, it means you are asking for permission. So, if you want to leave a meeting in between, you should say “May I leave the meeting now?” rather than saying “Can I leave the meeting now?”
There is another pair, “Accept” and “Except”. Writers many a time tend to write another spelling while they mean the other. While the meanings of both these terms are fairly clear, I believe the mistake is often a silly one.
Want to know about a few more of such commonly confused words? Read this article:
Have you read Why is it necessary to use Harvard Comma?