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Can et May


Can & May : correction exercice 1


Propositions de réponses possibles.


1. Can I sit down here? (Effet de sens de l'emploi de la forme éliptique = façon un peu familière de poser la question. L'énonciateur n'a sans doute pas l'intention d'attendre la réponse, même si elle est affirmative (yes, I do mind)).


2. May I sit down here? ("Would you mind terribly" produit l'effet de sens inverse au précédent).


3. You can sit anywhere you like. (Effet de sens familier entraîné par l'expression "be my guest" = te gêne pas).


4. Can these be walnuts hanging over our heads? (L'énonciateur demande à son interlucteur s'il y a une chance que ce qu'il voit soit des noix. Un peu comme s'il disait : "Can you see what I see?" mais dans ce second cas can devient radical/pragmatique).


5. He can very helpful at times. (Effect de sens de concession : par moments, pas toujours, je vous l'accorde).


6. Yet it may not be a natural trait of character with him. (Confirmation du doute de l'énonciateur)


7. Those boys can well be Texans judging by their accent. (Il y a de bonnes chances que…)


8. I can't tell whether he's Italian or Spanish. I'm really no linguist, you see. (L'énonciateur reconnaît son incapacité).


9. I'm sorry, but you may not smoke in here. (Rappel de l'interdiction que l'énonciateur prend à sa charge de façon assez formelle).


10. She may accept my invitation after all. (L'énonciateur évalue les chances de réalisation de S/P).


11. I can't believe what people say about her being so distant. (L'énonciateur reconnaît son incapacité ou son incrédulité).


Mais on peut accepter aussi : She can't be so distant! (Dans ce dernier cas can prend sa valeur épistémique (certitude de l'énonciateur)).


12. What he said may not be the truth at all. (Doute de l'énonciateur/ degré de (in)certitude).


Can & May : correction exercice 2


"I can't believe how naïve Mr. Botibol has been."


"Botibol? Who may that be? Never heard of him."


"That may be because you don't do enough reading. Mr. Botibol is the hapless hero of the shortstory called Dip in the Pool."


"And you, of course, can tell me who this guy is."


"I sure can, but that's gonna take some time. Can I sit down?"


"Make yourself at home. You can also pour yourself a drink, if you feel like it."


"No, thanks, you may not know it but the police are checking on drunk driving these days".


"May we come back to what we were discussing and you tell me what the story of your character is about?"


"Well, it's about a nice chap travelling on a steamer across the Atlantic and heading back towards America. He thinks he may become rich by betting on the distance covered by the ship in the next 24 hours."


"That may be safer than playing bingo, but it still seems a bit risky to me."


"You may be closer to reality than you think. In fact, the man does not realise at all that everything depends on the weather and that that may change very quickly when at sea. So one stormy night he bets on a short distance (low pool)."


"He may not be very clever but that sounds rather logical."


"Agreed. But during the night the weather clears up, the ship starts sailing faster and Botibol loses all of his savings".


"I may not be the best person to pass judgment on him since I bet on horses every day."




Retourner aux exercices sur les auxiliaires modaux, can et may