"Might" vs. "Would" in the English grammar

Might vs. Would

'Might' and 'would' are modal verbs used to talk about possibilities which is why learners might confuse the. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

"Might" vs. "Would" in the English grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between modal verbs 'might' and 'would' is that 'might' is used to give suggestions while 'would' is used to make requests.

'Might' is a modal verb that is used to talk about possibilities, suggestions, etc. 'Might' is known as the past tense of modal verb 'may' but it is used for the present or the future tense. For instance:

I might consider staying longer hours.

I might invite my friends over.

'Would' is a modal verb that is used to talk about future, possibilities, willingness, etc. 'Would' is the past tense of 'will' but it is used in the present tense. For example:

I would volunteer if you want.

I would take the bus to work.

Similarities

Talking about Possibilities

We use 'might' and 'would' to talk about possible events and actions. These events have a chance of occurrence. For example:

She might want to join us.

I think she would want to join us.

Negation and Question

We use 'might' and 'would' to make negative sentences and questions.
To make them negative, we add 'not' to them as illustrated below:

  • MightMight notMightn't
  • WouldWould notWouldn't

Here are some examples for clarity:

I might sneak her in to the VIP section. → I might not sneak her in to the VIP section.

It would be easy to find another set. → It would not be easy to find another set.

Questions are made by inverting the modal verbs with the subjects. For example:

The leftovers might be spoiled. → Might the leftovers be spoiled?

She would be happy to participle. → Would she be happy to participle?

With Other Modals

Modal verbs can be used with other verbs, however, there can only be one modal verb in a clause. Take a look at these incorrect examples:

I might could buy a car.

I shall would look after my cousins.

Differences

Talking about the Future

As mentioned earlier, 'would' is the past tense of the modal verb 'will.' It is used to refer to the future from the point of view of the past. Have a look:

He would see his parents next week.

She would be in her office on Monday.

Talking about Permissions

We use 'might' and 'would' as conditional verbs. In the table below, you can see them with all types of conditionals:

Might Would
Conditional Type 1
Conditional Type 2
Conditional Type 3
Zero Conditionals

Conditional Type 1

Conditional type 1 is used to show a condition and its result. These conditions are real situations and their chance of happening is very high. We use 'would' and 'might' in this type. For example:

If you eat less nutrients, you might get sick.

If you eat less nutrients, you would get sick.

Conditional Type 2

We use 'might' and 'would' in conditional type 2 to talk about hypothetical situations in the present or future. These situations are imaginary and their chance of occurrence is low. For instance:

If I drink one more coffee, I might pass out.

If I drink one more coffee, I would pass out.

Conditionals Type 3

We use 'might' and 'would' in conditional type 3 to talk about a past that could have been. Here, we are talking about an imaginary past that could happen but never did and we are talking about the what-ifs. In other words, we are imagining a different past. Take a look at the following examples:

She might have gotten wet, if it had rained.

She would have gotten wet, if it had rained.

Comments

  • linkedin
  • linkedin
  • facebook
  • facebook
  • email

You might also like

May vs. Will

'May' and 'will' are modal verbs that confuse learners because they both make offers. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Might vs. Maybe

'Might' and 'maybe' are both used to talk about possibilities which is why learners confuse them but they have different functions. Learn more in this lesson!

Might vs. Must

'Might' and 'must' are modal verbs that confuse learners as they both talk about possibilities. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Might vs. Will

'Might' and 'will' are modal verbs that may confuse learners since they both talk about possibilities. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

Will vs. Going to

'Will' and 'going to' are mainly confused by learners since they talk about predictions and decisions. Learn more about them in this lesson.

Will vs. Would

'Will' and 'would' have similar functions which is why learners confuse them. However, there are differences between them that we will learn in this lesson.