asking permission vs. making a request

Could someone explain to me what the following sentence implies?
‘Can I borrow your pen for a second?’ (asking for permission or making a request)
By the way, would it be possible to use ‘may’ or ‘could’ or ‘is it okay if’ in this very sentence?
Many thanks!

Yes, you are correct.

I hope this could help…

Here is what & states:
"Can applies to what is possible and may to what is permissible; Can means[color=darkred] ‘able to,’ May means ‘permitted to’.

“Could” is used to [color=darkred]express possibility or past ability as well as to make [color=darkred]suggestions and requests. “Could” is also commonly used in conditional sentences as the conditional form of “Can.”

“May” is most commonly used to express possibility. It can also be used to give or request permission.

‘Is it okay if’ will work as well, but a bit formal in my opinion.

I am hoping for a native speaker to comment. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help :slight_smile: However, I still would rather someone comment upon my sentence. Is it an example of making a request or asking for permission?

[color=darkred]"Can applies to what is possible and may to what is permissible; Can means ‘able to,’

It’s clear Li. It’s a straight question. Here you are sure that the other party will possibly grant you what you are looking for. Undoubtedly, A PERMISSION to borrow a pen!

Check the difference: &

I agree with you :slight_smile: I also thought it was an example of asking for permission. I was just startled because my English text book states that this question implies making a request.

Hi Li Cyan,

This is a simple request where ‘can’ is really a conversational substitute for ‘may’. In this question you are just asking if it is all right to borrow the pen.