may – to be allowed to

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The use of may and to be allowed to

We substitute may with to be allowed to. The modal may can only be used with the Simple Present.

1. Affirmative sentences

Modal Substitute Tense
I may play football. I am allowed to play football. Simple Present
not possible I was allowed to play football. Simple Past
not possible I will be allowed to play football. will-future

There are also other tenses possible, e.g. Present Perfect: I have been allowed to play football.

2. Negative sentences

Modal Substitute Tense
I may not play football. I am not allowed to play football. Simple Present
not possible I was not allowed to play football.
Simple Past
not possible I will not be allowed to play football. will-future

3. Questions

Modal Substitute Tense
May he play football? Is he allowed to play football? Simple Present
not possible Was he allowed to play football?
Simple Past
not possible Will he be allowed to play football? will-future

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