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  1. #1
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    Default the slight difference between two sentences.

    Hello, I'm James.

    I read the book about English grammar written by non-native person.
    Below is a example in the book about a modal verb 'may'.

    - He may have been rich.
    = It is possible that he was rich

    He metioned that above two sentences are same.
    I don't think they are.
    However, I can't say exactly what the difference is.

    Could you explain me the differences?
    Thank you very much in advance.

  2. #2
    SweetMommaSue's Avatar
    SweetMommaSue is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: the slight difference between two sentences.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragontiger
    Hello, I'm James.

    I read the book about English grammar written by non-native person.
    Below is a example in the book about a modal verb 'may'.

    - He may have been rich.
    = It is possible that he was rich

    He metioned that above two sentences are same.
    I don't think they are.
    However, I can't say exactly what the difference is.

    Could you explain me the differences?
    Thank you very much in advance.
    Hello James and Welcome!

    May is a verb that we use when we wish to indicate that a possibility exists. In this case, there is a possibility that the man was rich. Perhaps the verb tenses are bothering you?

    * He may have been rich. This means that there is a possibility that at one time the man was rich, though now he is not.

    * It is possible that he was rich. Now, instead of using the verb "may", we have substituted the expression, "It is possible", which means the same thing. This sentence is also putting the state of being rich in the past, and excluding it from the present time.

    So, I would say that the two sentences mean the same thing.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: the slight difference between two sentences.

    Because of "have been", I thought that these sentence have a slightly different shade of meaning. Thanks for helping me :)

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