Modal Verbs May and Might
'May' and 'might' are two modal verbs that are used to express possibility or probability. They are also used when asking for or giving permission.
'May' is a modal verb that is used to:
'May' is used to express possibility or likelihood of something happening, but with a level of uncertainty or lack of certainty.
Asking for/Giving Permission
'May' is used to politely ask for permission to do something. Using 'May I...?' is more polite and more formal than using 'Can I...?' or 'Could I...?'
You can also use 'may' to politely give permission to somebody.
You can use 'may not' or 'mayn't' to indicate that something is not allowed or to express a negative condition. Keep in mind that 'mayn't' is a contraction of 'may not' and is generally considered informal or colloquial.
You can use 'may' to express wishes. In this function, you can only use 'may'. 'May' and 'might' are not interchangeable in this case.
Making a Suggestion
'May' can be used in both spoken and formal English to ask something or make a *suggestion in a polite manner.
'May be' or 'Maybe'?
If 'maybe' is written without space between the two words, it is a one-word adverb meaning 'perhaps'.
However, if it is written as two words, i.e., 'may be', it is not an adverb anymore and it is a modal verb plus the verb be.
Might is a modal verb that is similar to may and serves similar functions. It is used for:
- Expressing possibility
- Asking for permission
- Making a suggestion
'Might' is similar to 'may' in that it is used to express possibility or likelihood of something happening. However, the difference is that 'might' suggests a lower degree of probability or a less likely possibility than 'may'. It implies that the chances of something happening are smaller or more remote.
We can use 'might' as the past tense of 'may' when we want to report that someone talked or thought about the possibility of something:
He said he
She thought they
We can also use 'might' to express a possibility in the past that did not actually happen.
Especially in British English, 'might' is used to politely ask for permission to do something. But, it is very rare and very formal.
You cannot use 'might' to give permission.
Making a Suggestion
'Might' can be used to make polite suggestions or give advice to someone.
If you want to get annulment, you
If you're uncertain about whether something happened in the past, it's better to use 'might'. You can also use 'may', but since 'might' is the past tense of 'may', using 'might' can be more appropriate.
When using 'might' in this context, you should follow it with the past participle form of the verb, which is the past perfect tense.
In this example, you're not sure that something has happened in the past.
'Might' is used more frequently in spoken English than 'may.' 'May' is somewhat formal.
'May' and 'might' are used widely in English to talk about possibilities and to politely ask or give permission. The only difference between 'may' and 'might' is that "may" can be used to express wishes, while "might" cannot. Remember 'might' cannot be used to give permission.