7 Vote

Can I have a beer?

Can I have two beers?

Is the second sentence correct?

9 Answers

5 Vote

Actually, neither is truly correct. In English the proper, but not common, request is "may I have a beer?" or "may I have two beers"? I don't think there is an equivalent in Spanish.

  • Oh yes, 3d grade. "can I have a drink of water?" I don't know, can you. - AJbeach Apr 24, 2010 flag
  • The subjunctive mood (e.g. after que) is sometimes used for "may"/"might". - 0074b507 Apr 25, 2010 flag
5 Vote

Actually, now that I think about it, as qfreed pointed out, there is an equivalent to "may I have" in Spanish by using the subjunctive but it needn't follow "qué":

"Pudieras darme una cerveza, por favor?"

Roughly (and sort of idiomatically), "could you kindly give me a beer please."

  • ¿Podría darme un cerveza, por favor?. - Si pudiera darme una cerveza, por favor - ¿Puede darme una cereza, por favor?. The word "pudiera" is not for a question. Take this into account. - nila45 Apr 26, 2010 flag
3 Vote

Can and May and Could

Can is related to ability (habilidad)

May is related to permission. (permiso)

But we interchange them all the time.

"Could I have a beer?" is also used and for some reason considered more polite than can.

1 Vote

Both are correct.

1 Vote

The more correct and polite word to use when requesting something is "may."

However, you hear "can" and "may" used interchangeably in everyday speech. So much for politeness...

  • Especially when speaking to a bartender. - samdie Apr 21, 2010 flag
1 Vote

Some smart a@# may respond, "I don't know, can you?" Technically, "can" means "able to", where "may" means "allowed to". In day-to-day conversation, most people use "can", even if it isn't technically correct.

  • true, jeje, may is so seldom used..... - 00494d19 Apr 21, 2010 flag
1 Vote

Depends who you're asking. Are you in the local bar or in someone's home? If you're in the bar, are you asking the bartender/waiter/waitress or a person you'r with.

In every case it would be good to say "please" either before or after - "please can I have a beer (or two)" most likely addressed to your friend or "can I have a beer please" addressed to the bartender etc.

As always, the best solution is to listen to what other folk say and copy it (well unless they get a black eye - lol).

...and if you want to sound a little more macho you can always say to the bartender "I'll have a beer (two beers) please".

1 Vote

Whereas! We colonials just say "give us a beer thanks" and keep em coming. We never put please at the end always thanks even before we receive the beer. This is in a Hotel of course . tongue wink

0 Vote

It's fine.You could also say, "Two beers please" Pero, cuidado, van a decir "What kind of beer? "Lager" es como San Miguel etc. So you could say "Two bottles of lager please..." Y ahora van a preguntar, "Stella, etc.." preguntando como, Estrella? San Miguel? etc.

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