Japanese Language Blog

Sentences with “May” Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Grammar

One way to ask for permission to do something is to use the construction ~てもいいですか

座ってもいいですか = May I sit down?

(すわってもいいですか/座っていいですか = May I sit down?)

To approve, you can use the construction ~てもいいですよ

はいすわってもいいですよ = Yes, you may sit down.

(はい = yes.  座ってもいいですよ = you may sit down)

To deny permission to do something, you can use the construction ~はいけません

いいえ座ってはいけません = No, you may not sit down.

(いいえ = No.  座ってはいけません = you may not sit down.)

The can be left off of てもいいですか, which is more informal :

帰っていいですか = May I leave?

(かえっていいですか/帰っていいですか = May I leave?)

When asking permission to do something from a person of higher status, it’s probably better to use the construction ~てもよろしですか

入ってもよろしですか = May I come in?

(はいってもよろしですか/入ってもよろしですか = May I come in?)

When giving permission to a superior the construction ~てもけっこうです can be used :

食べてもけっこうです = You may eat it

(たべてもけっこうです/食べてもけっこうです = You may eat it)

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