Modal Verbs May and Might
'May' and 'might' are two modal verbs that talk about the possibility of something happening in a situation.
'Might' is used more frequently in spoken English than 'may.' 'May' is somewhat formal.
'May' is a modal verb that is used to talk about:
'May' is used when we want to express a possibility. It shows that there is a possibility that something will happen or be true but this is not certain.
Politely Asking/Giving Permission
'May' is used when we want to politely ask permission for doing something. Using 'May I...?' is more polite than using 'Can I...?' or 'Could I...?'
The use of 'may' in this way is very formal and very polite.
If you want to politely give permission to somebody, you can also use 'may'.
You can use 'may not' or 'mayn't' (spoken) not to allow somebody to do something.
You can use 'may' to express wishes. In this function, you can only use 'may'. 'May' and 'might' are not interchangeable in this case.
We can use 'may' in spoken English and in formal situations to say, ask, or suggest something in a polite way:
Might is a modal verb that is similar to may. It has similar functions as may. It is used for:
- Asking permission politely
- Suggesting something
'Might' is similar to the first function of 'may', which is expressing possibility. But the difference is that with 'might' the possibility is less likely. It is more remote, the chances are smaller.
We 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
We can also use 'might' to express a possibility in the past that did not actually happen.
Asking permission politely
Especially in British English, 'might' is used for politely asking permission to do something. But, it is very rare and very formal.
You cannot use 'might' to give permission.
We can use 'might' to suggest politely what someone should do.
If you want to get annulment, you
'Maybe' and 'May be'
If you write 'maybe' without space between the two words, it is a one-word adverb meaning 'perhaps'.
But, if you write 'may be' as two words, it is not an adverb anymore and it is a modal verb plus the verb be.
If you're not sure that something has happened in the past, it's better to use 'might'. You can use 'may', too, but since 'might' is the past tense of 'may', you can use 'might'.
After 'might' in this use, you should use a past perfect tense after your modals.
In this example, you're not sure that something has happened in the past.
'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.