Can I come in?

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Can I come in?

A request to enter a particular place. A: "Hey, can I come in? I need to talk to you about something." B: "Sure, just close the door to my office."
See also: can, come

Could I come in?

Do you mind if I enter? (A polite request. Also used with can or may in place of could.) Tom (standing in the doorway): Hello, I'm with the Internal Revenue Service. Could I come in? Bill: Hi, Tom. What are you doing here? Tom: Could I come in? I have to talk to you. Bill: Sure. Come on in.
See also: come, could