Hi - I was looking at the older postings and came across the one below (page 11).


Goodbye, George. May you and John be together forever.

How can "may you" be explained? We tell our students, when discussing modals, that "may you" does not exist. We use ""May/Can I?" and "Could/Can/Would/Will you?"


Is it incorrect to say the following? (permisison or possibility)
1. May you come to the party tonight?
2. May you sing with us?
3. May she stay?
4. May they leave their bags here?

Thanks
Original Post
Poobear is correct in stating that a short explanation of "May you..." does appear in the posting mentioned. That posting is currently on page 11 of this Newsgroup.

About your example sentences: Number 3 and Number 4 are correct. You may ask permission for 1st and 3rd persons with "may," but not for the 2nd person, "you."

It's logical NOT to use the "may" of permission with "you," since "may" asks for permission; the idea of the speaker's asking the listener to give herself/himself permission is a bit convoluted.

So in Number 1 and Number 2, don't use "May you." Use "Can you," "Will you," "Would you," "Would you like to," "Are you going to," even "Could you," or "Might you."

Rachel
Hello Poobear and Rachel - I had read the response to the posting. I wrote because I wondered whether the "may you" phrase could refer to a question of "possibility" (similar to "can") rather than asking "permission"

I google searched and came up with only one reference

"May you come over here and see the New Year in?"
- The house of women. Cookson, Catherine

I think it is time for a break for me. Rules and what not often get fuzzy for me around now.

May the both of you also have a wonderful holiday.

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