Re: "You may click" vs. "Click"

Subject: Re: "You may click" vs. "Click"
From: Charles Fisher <decrsc!charles -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 1994 11:38:33 -0400

Here at Datatel, we don't say "You may...." We use "You can..."
instead. As someone else mentioned, the whole "may" thing
seems a bit spineless and implies a you-may-but-then-again-
you-may-not sense. "Can" is a bit more firm in connotation,
and it gives more of a sense of empowerment.

Of course, we only use "You can..." in situations where something
is optional. For required things, we use the command form: just
do it.<TM>

All of this is MHO, of course, but Webster's does have a usage
note on can vs. may: Basically, they're interchangeable [yes,
THAT word uses "-eable" ;)], but "may" is seen as more formal
and denotes asking permission. Also, "can" is preferred in
negative constructions (can't), whereas a negative construction
with "may" is rare.

Hope this helps.
"Just Do It" is a trademark of the Nike Corporation.
Charles "it's-gotta-be-the-shoes" Fisher
President, STC Washington DC Chapter

Senior Documentation Specialist
Datatel, Inc. (703) 968-4588 (voice)
4375 Fair Lakes Court (703) 968-4625 (FAX)
Fairfax, VA 22033 charles -at- datatel -dot- com

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