Duolingo WaniKani Club

I am prone to verbose explanations, at times, if it’s a subtle point. Otherwise I tend to just be blunt :stuck_out_tongue:

Wow, that was fast, looks like 15 is the maximum number of people for a club, lol

1 Like

Sorry new users. Well, at least I get to say I’m part of an ultra-exclusive club now :grinning:


If someone wants to start a second one, feel free to post here :smiley:

This one filled up in like, 3 hours, so I imagine there’s more people who would join, lol

You’re the guy who does what? Sorry I don’t understand :joy:

Well that’s annoying!


“Can I get” isn’t even correct english, let alone polite!


It is perfectly good English, actually, but it’s still stupid that their default translation for 下さい is that, and that they mark please as wrong.

It might be accepted in conversation, but “can I get…” isn’t a valid request - it’s an inquiry as to whether or not a thing is possible to obtain.

“Can I get some soy sauce?” is asking “Am I physically capable of acquiring some soy sauce?”.

“May I get…” is better as it’s actually a request, but ‘to get’ is still implying personally fetching a thing.

“May I have…” is the grammatically correct option here as we seek to wait passively for someone to grant us ownership of a thing.

You’d be completely right that it isn’t important enough to pay attention to, if this wasn’t in the context of grammar lessons that make distinctions between things as small as:

I don’t drink a lot of tea.” and “I don’t drink tea a lot.”!

No, it’s not. No more than any other colloquial usage. Technically, “may I?” is equally incorrect, but the reality is that all languages end up with phrases that carry a certain meaning, even though they literally translate differently. To elaborate, “May I?” is asking for permission to perform an activity, or asking whether something is possible. There is a lot of overlap with “Can I?”, because can/may in modern English have become very close in meaning, with one or the other preferred mostly based on a speaker’s preferences, which typically come from dialect.

Those two examples, by the way, are not small differences at all, they are subtle, though. “I don’t [verb] a lot of [noun]” focuses on the small quantity, “I don’t [verb] [noun] a lot” focuses on frequency of activity.

You’re right that the differences in total quantities of tea drunk in my example might be huge, my point was that the app focuses on subtleties that might be overlooked in casual conversation, which I thought the can/may distinction was an example of.

Having acted wildly against standard forum practice and gone and done some reading though it seems you’re correct that both verbs are technically just as good as each other, although In the UK you’d find a lot of people confused as to why you wanted to go and fetch some sauce personally rather than be brought some, and even more people being pointlessly snide about grammar.

Of which it seems I’m now one.

I guess I have a long list of schoolteachers to track down and remonstrate with having had this drilled into me over the years!

Getting the answer wrong? What’s that?

If you don’t see the joke, this exercise came already completed


Looks like the club is full. What’s the member limit on a Duolingo club, anyway?

Actually, this is not even a UK/US thing. I’m a Scot, although I am in the US now, and “Can I get?” is common enough across the country. I suspect it’s mostly a you thing, with respect, in terms of the dialects you’re most familiar with.

I’ve lived throughout the UK, and the world, come to that. I speak English with a mix of RP, Scots, Midlands and various other accent and dialect quirks, depending on where I was when I picked a word or phrase up.

My prep school teachers would hate the use of “get” there, but it’s not actually novel, and has wide usage within the UK.

That said, many of a certain social standing, in England, would cringe at any of them, since it should be (according to those) “Please would you bring me … ?” (Ironically, somewhat closer to the Japanese)

15 members, for some reason. Ours was full in like 3 hours. Judging by that, I’d imagine there’s interest enough for more of them :slight_smile:

I had the difference between “can I” and “may I” drilled into my head growing up in the US, but it honestly felt like a losing battle - I hear “can I get” much more often in daily usage :slight_smile: I think lots of people are aware it’s wrong, but for the most part, nobody cares lol. It feels especially polite to me to use “may I” in actual conversation, like I would use it at a classy tea party or something.

Aye, in parts of the UK people would think you were posh, trying to be posh, or being sarcastic, if you used “may I” rather than “can I”.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.