I might go out tonight. For example, when you say, “If you get ready in five minutes, you MIGHT be able to catch your plane”, you need to use might because the situation you are describing is hypothetical. The second difference is that may is the verb in the present tense, while might is the same verb but in the past tense. Might is also the past tense of may. So, depending on the tense you’re using in your sentence, you can easily determine which will be the correct word to go with. Signup to our newsletter "English in your Inbox" to receive your monthly fix of English by email. Still, with asking permission, there’s one thing you should keep in mind: sometimes using may instead of might will create confusion. Many native speakers disagree on which one expresses more or less certainty. So, may goes with situations that are or could be possible, while might goes with more hypothetical and less probably situations. So, ‘The authorities must do something about the traffic congestion’. Similarly, you need to use might when you say, “If I ever have a million dollars, I MIGHT buy a yacht”: the situation here is possible but, unfortunately, unlikely. Finally, what do you do when you’re asking permission? These meanings can be put into groups like possibility or prediction. These are expressions can be used to suggest that you will do something because there is nothing better or more interesting to do. For example, what exactly do you mean when you say, “I MAY not go out tomorrow”? Free Practice Tests for learners of English. 5. Many people are sure that jail and …, Fiancée or Fiancé? May vs Might! Usiamo “might” per suggerire una piccola probabilità che qualcosa accada. You should introduce yourself; he may/might not remember you. On the other hand, if you say, “I MAY go to the cinema after dinner”, you are talking about something that is very possible to happen. ‘The authorities must do something about the traffic congestion’, ‘John’s not here yet. The next question is, can you replace might have with may have? There is a chance of something being true or there is a possibility of something happening. Following the same logic, if one of your colleagues is late to work almost every day, you will need to use may when you tell him, “You MAY lose your job”. He may/might know Susan's telephone number. To understand the difference in meaning of these two examples it’s best to look at modal verbs using the words intrinsic and extrinsic which are often used to describe modal verbs. Speculate about past actions (May + have + past participle). Note: Might is used more frequently than May in spoken English. John’s not here yet. Note: Can is used more frequently than May in spoken English though May sounds more polite. May and Might. (Perhaps I will see you later.) A single letter can make a very …, Inter vs Intra! from English Grammar Today We use could, may and might to express degrees of possibility. Are you likely to win? (This means there is a possibility that it will rain later) Extrinsic meanings are meanings where people express their ideas or thoughts about what is or isn’t going to happen. And ‘John’s not here yet. (Though I'm not sure) The words agonist and antagonist can be …, Jail vs Prison! 1. Perhaps you can help with “problematic”. May and Might are modal verbs. These meanings can be put into groups like permission, necessity and willingness. May I come in? Perhaps it’s time to surrender “problematic” as another word with a precise meaning ruined by generalization. In contrast, might refers to events that are hypothetical or possible but very unlikely. Infine “might” è più comune di “may” nell’inglese parlato. (At the stadium) Our team is losing by 50 points. May expresses a greater degree of certainty: You should ask him. Might carries with it less probability and applies to hypothetical and counterfactual situations. In addition, many people, especially when they are speaking, tend to use these two words interchangeably. See the difference between May be and Maybe in English. And if you’re saying that there’s a possibility of something not happening, you should use might to avoid confusion. May applies to situations that are possible or could be possible. For example, in the sentence, “Gabrielle MAY cook dinner for our whole group of friends tonight”, may is used because the whole sentence is in the present tense. And not “May you win?”. I may/might see you later. ‘May’ is used for formal requests: May I ask a question? MAY vs MIGHT: When to Use Might vs May with Useful Examples, DESERT vs DESSERT: Useful Difference between Dessert …, CONCAVE vs CONVEX: Interesting Differences between Convex …, INQUIRE vs ENQUIRE: When to Use Enquire …, FORMER vs LATTER: How to Use Former and Latter …, AGONIST vs ANTAGONIST: Difference between Antagonist vs …, JAIL vs PRISON: Differences between Jail and …, FIANCÉE or FIANCÉ: Useful Difference between Fiancée …. Modal verbs, in general, can cause a lot of confusion. ‘May’ is not usually used in questions asking about how true something could possibly be: How possible is it for you to come first? Is it “everyday” or …. Today….. Tomorrow…. When I was growing up, it had a strict meaning of “theoretically possible but unlikely in practice”, or, in logic classes, “theoretically possible but not yet verified”. He must be stuck in traffic. ‘May’ and ‘might’ – permission Usually ‘may’ is used to talk about permission in formal situations: Laptops and tablets may not be used during the test. Only hotel guests may use the facilities. These two words can easily be mixed …, Inquire vs Enquire! Note: Might is used more frequently than May in spoken English. Note: Might could also be used to request permission but it sounds very old and is not common. The verbs ‘may’ and ‘might’ are used to say that something is possibly true: I think I might be coming down with the flu. there is a chance that you won’t. The meaning of ‘must’ is intrinsic and describes a necessity. Thank you for clarifying that “might” can be used for something unlikely. Both may and might refer to an event that is possible or probable to happen. Spesso si dice che ‘might” lasci intendere una possibilità più piccola rispetto a “may” (in altre parole ‘might‘ è meno probabile di ‘may‘). We. Intrinsic meanings are meanings which give the idea that people have some control over the actions or events. Modals B – must/have to (Necessity – Deduction), Modals C – should/ought to (Obligation and Probability). Part 2 - Modals B – must/have to (Necessity – Deduction), Part 3 - Modals C – should/ought to (Obligation and Probability), Lesson by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta English school, Decide if these sentences denote Permission, Possibility. When it comes to choosing between two specific verbs, such as May vs Might, things get even more complicated. This pair of words is borrowed from …, Difference between Everyday vs Every Day. Worse vs Worst! The verbs ‘may’ and ‘might’ are used to say that something is possibly true: I think I might be coming down with the flu. In informal situations ‘might’ is more common than ‘may’ when we want to talk about what someone will do in the future: They might move to London. Many writers find homophones confusing, and this …, Desert vs Dessert! Any future time can be used with will, may and might. And if we can’t, what are the rules for the use of May vs Might? When talking about something that is not happening, it can be better to use might to … Take an umbrella, it might rain later. There are many different topics and levels. Below are some words that might be used or indicate use of will, may and/or might. If you found this English Grammar about May and Might interesting or useful, let others know about it: A variety of English grammar notes and rules including charts and examples for beginner to advanced level students. I think I might be coming down with the flu. Laptops and tablets may not be used during the test.
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