May vs. Might

🔵 In order to understand the difference between may and might, we need to understand its applications.

📌 First up: Might is the past tense of May.

May is a verb that means expressing possibility. Therefore, being its past form, Might is used to express possibility in Indirect Speech, or to express possibility based on some condition that is unfulfilled.

Let’s look at both their examples.

  • I may have that book you need. (Present Tense)
  • She may take a few minutes to get ready. (Present Tense)
  • I may call my friends for lunch. (Present Tense)

  • I might have helped him if he had asked for it. (possibility based on an unfulfilled condition)
  • Sonam said she might come late to the party. (possibility in Indirect Speech)
  • We might have won if the rain didn’t stop the match. (possibility based on an unfulfilled condition)

Note: Might is also a noun, but we’ll look at that definition in some other lesson.

📌 Now, the second usage of May and Might is in terms of how much possibility is being expressed.

Simply saying,
we use May when something has a higher possibility of happening
we use Might when something has a lower possibility of happening
For example,
👉‘You have your own bicycle, right? Then they may let you participate in the cycling competition.’
🔹 Here, the possibility of the boy being able to participate in the cycling competition is quite high since he’s got his own bike.
👉‘If the villagers don’t get food, they may die of hunger!’
🔹 This sentence clearly shows the high chances of the villagers dying if they don’t get to eat.

Let’s look at Might.
👉 ‘Rohan said he was busy, but he might try to come to the party.’
🔹 Because of the fact that Rohan is busy, it is highly doubtful that he will be able to come to the party.
👉 ‘Worst case scenario, the judge might rule in the favour of the accused.’
🔹 Here, we are talking about an extreme situation where the judge might favour the accused. But the tone of the sentence suggests that that is unlikely to happen. 

Note: Many people use May and Might interchangeably in casual use. However, now that you know the difference, you shouldn’t do that. 

📌 The third use of May and Might is when asking for permission.

Look at these sentences:
May I sit down?’
May I use your bathroom?’
Might I go out with my friends?’
Might I ask for a favour?’

You may notice, that using might for taking permission sounds a bit odd. That’s because may is more commonly used than might. So, now you know what to use the next time you want to ask someone to go to the bathroom!
May vs. Might May vs. Might Reviewed by Devanshi on July 10, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.