- For Teachers
You may have noticed ?
You might have noticed ?
Please let me know difference between above given sentence.
The second leaves the possibility open that you haven't even seen whatever it is.
1) You may have noticed that there are some men hiding behind that tree.
2) You might have noticed, had you been looking, that there were men hiding behind that tree.
Of course the two original sentences mean exactly the same it is just a matter of style. But I would like to point here two things:
1) Using 'might' instead of 'may', may be a little bit politer (or might be a little bit politer - haha)
2) If you try hard you may find a difference, although your interlocutor most probably won't: The first sentence "You may have noticed that" brings first the idea of present and only afterwards transports to past, while the secone sentence "You might have noticed that" immediatelly transports to past.
Regarding the examples given by emsr2d2 I would say (or I might say - haha) there is a slight difference:
3) You may have noticed that there are some men hiding behind that tree.
Here probably if you try again, it may be possible to notice the men hiding
behind the tree.
4) You might have noticed, had you been looking, that there were men hiding behind that tree. Here probably it is not possible to notice the men hiding
begind the tree anymore.
Finally regarding the suggestion of bhaisahab
5) 'You may have noticed had you been looking....' --> here I wouldn't use may, only might as in 4 above (because of had). In order to use may here instead of might, the sentence should read:
6) You may have noticed that there were men hiding behind that tree.
Last edited by Abstract Idea; 28-Jul-2009 at 20:07.
Thanks for the note on 'politer' or 'more polite' bhaisahab. In fact it took me a long time to decide which form to use when I was writting the post. I researched on some online dictionaries and they do have the inflection
'politer'. Some of them suggest both forms 'politer' or 'more polite' could be used. I have to admit that (i) the search engine google has much more hits for 'more polite' than 'politer' and (ii) the online translator google does not recognize the form 'politer'. Well only after such careful research I decided for the use of
the expression 'politer' on my previous post.
I am not a native English speaker, I cannot say the last word neither regarding the use of the 'politer' form nor regarding the original question of the topic. Still I do
not have yet a good trusted reference English grammar/dicitonary, I have been
teaching English for only about the last 4 months. I respect and thank the opinion of all the native speakers.
Well, returning to the main topic, as I said before, indeed there is not an important difference between 'you may have noticed' and 'you might have noticed', only the second one seems to be a little bit more polite. But when
you use it with another verb in the past like:
'may have ....had you been...' and 'might have ....had you been...'.
I would prefer to use only the second form - with 'might'. The point is:
'You may have noticed, next time please watch closer, the magician had another card in his sleeves' -> this sentece analises a past action through the present. (here 'may' sounds much better but I reckon 'might' could be used)
'You might have noticed, had you been watching closer, the magician had another card in his sleeves' -> this sentence analises a past action through the past itself. (here it seems that only 'might' applies)
In principle I wouldn't say 'You may have noticed, had you been watching closer, the magician had another card in his sleeves'.
Sorry I can't explain it any better. What is your opinion, do you think on that last example I gave 'may' could be used instead of 'might' ?
Last edited by Abstract Idea; 29-Jul-2009 at 13:46.