In Reply to: Permission to ... posted by Thomas Leach on November 22, 2008 at 19:54:
: "Permission to ..." My students in trial-skills course drive me crazy by asking: "Permission to approach the witness ... permission to publish the exhibit, Your Honor ... permission to arrange the easel ..." To me this is military-speak, from the boot-camp parade ground: "Permissin to speak freely, Sergeant!" Does it have any legal origin in courtroom tradition, or should I continue to train them to leave military out of it and instead say, "May I approach, Your Honor?" - ?
Please continue - whether in the US or UK, the students are confusing two genres of TV drama. Outside the military, "May I approach" is sufficient and correct, and just sounds better.