Can I get by, please?

Can I get by, please?

A request for more room so that one can pass through a crowded area. Excuse me, can I get by, please? A: "Can I get by, please?" B: "Oh, sure—let me just move these boxes out of the way."
See also: can, get

Could I get by, please?

Would you please allow me space to pass by? (Also used with can or may in place of could. May is almost too polite.) Poor Bill, trapped at the back of the elevator behind a huge man, kept saying, "Could I get by, please?" "Can I get by, please?" Jane said, squeezing between passengers on the crowded bus.
See also: could, get
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