View Poll Results: He might have died in the accident.

Voters
1097. This poll is closed
  • This means he survived.

    393 35.82%
  • This means we don't know whether he is alive or dead.

    704 64.18%
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 32

Thread: May\might


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
    • Posts: 160
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #11

    Re: May\might

    hey this is a good Question

    He might have died in the accident <-- after giving careful thoughts
    this could implie he could be dead or alive

    but also i think it depends on the situation

    like for example, other info was given such as luckly his friend, who is a doctor was beside him or he might have died in the accident.
    then in this situation he is still alive.

    oh yeah by the way tdol you sure post really good polls
    that can make me think hee hee :D


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
    • Posts: 160
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #12

    Re: May\might

    hey this is a good Question

    He might have died in the accident <-- after giving careful thoughts
    this could implie he could be dead or alive

    but also i think it depends on the situation

    like for example, other info was given such as luckly his friend, who is a doctor was beside him or he might have died in the accident.
    then in this situation he is still alive.

    oh yeah by the way tdol you sure post really good polls
    that can make me think hee hee :D

  1. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,570
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #13

    Re: May\might

    Quote Originally Posted by gonghai
    like for example, other info was given such as luckly his friend, who is a doctor was beside him or he might have died in the accident.
    • Luckliy, his friend, who is a doctor, was with him, or he might have died in the accident.


    That is a good use of the phrase "might have", but I think I would say the person might have died because of (or: as a result of) the accident.

    :)

  2. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,570
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #14

    Re: May\might

    Quote Originally Posted by gonghai
    like for example, other info was given such as luckly his friend, who is a doctor was beside him or he might have died in the accident.
    • Luckliy, his friend, who is a doctor, was with him, or he might have died in the accident.


    That is a good use of the phrase "might have", but I think I would say the person might have died because of (or: as a result of) the accident.

    :)

  3. kevinji
    Guest
    #15
    a


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,063
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #16

    Re: May\might

    He could have died.

    This could/can mean two things [maybe more]

    "It was a possibility, but it didn't happen"

    OR

    "There is a possiblity that he died but I don't know".


    He might have died.

    This could also mean two things [maybe more]

    "We don't know what happened, but there is a SMALL possibility that he died"

    OR

    it can be used as an admonishment,

    "How could you kids be so stupid as to try that stunt?" He might have died.

    'may' can also be used in this fashion to admonish; "he may have died" but it is much less likely that either 'might' or 'could'.

    In pure speculation, ie. when these modals are used as epistemic predictors [modals of certainty], when we use 'could', all we say is, "There's a possibility but my 'could', in and of itself, doesn't state how strong a possibility.

    'Might', on the other hand, confines the range of possibility from a miniscule to a small chance that something happened, will happen, is happening now, or happens all the time.



    ++++++++++++++++++

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    In BE, the following would be used:
    1- He might have died. (he survived an incident where there was a possiblility of dying)
    2- He may have died. (we don't know whether he has died or not- he's missing up a mountain in a storm, say.)
    However, the distinction is being eroded and many people now are using 'may' for the fisrt meaning.
    That's what some believe but it's simply not how English works, Tdol. In a purely epistemic sense when modals are being used to describe differing levels of speaker certainty, the only difference between 'might' and 'may' is that 'might' shows a speaker who is less certain.

    1- He might have died. (we don't know whether he has died or not- he's missing up a mountain in a storm, say.)

    Lower level of certainty than 'may'.

    2- He may have died. (we don't know whether he has died or not- he's missing up a mountain in a storm, say.)

    A higher level of certainty than 'might'.

    [An even higher level of certainty becomes, "He probably has died", and an even higher level, "He almost certainly has died" which under the right circumstances, could morph into "He must have died".]

    This distinction that some feel is being eroded has actually never existed. The people who think that's the case are confusing epistemic modal meaning with deontic modal meaning.

    As the old saying goes, you've gotta compare apples to apples.
    Last edited by riverkid; 19-Aug-2006 at 23:09.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2005
    • Posts: 2,047
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #17

    Re: May\might

    Here is the situation:

    Two friends make it to the beach after their boat sinks. They notice that the third friend, Bill, is missing.

    Oh no! where is Bill?

    He might have drowned.
    He could have drowned.
    He may have drowned.

    I don't see any difference here. There are situations where these modals separate more significant degrees of meaning, but in this case they all mean "possibly dead."


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,063
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #18

    Re: May\might

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Here is the situation:
    Two friends make it to the beach after their boat sinks. They notice that the third friend, Bill, is missing.
    Oh no! where is Bill?
    He might have drowned.
    He could have drowned.
    He may have drowned.
    I don't see any difference here. There are situations where these modals separate more significant degrees of meaning, but in this case they all mean "possibly dead."
    You're right, mykwyner that in certain circumstances, many of these modals seem to state the same thing and in this case, "possibility" covers all three. But that doesn't change the core meaning of the modals. They still retain their meanings and 'may' and 'might' express ranges of certainty while 'could/can' do not.

    "He probably drowned" & "He almost certainly drowned/He must have drowned" also state "possibly dead"; all three show even higher levels of certainty.

    But you have to consider the pragmatics of the situation. What would the two friends use? I'll suggest that 'may' sounds too strong, too certain to entertain at the outset and IMHO, it wouldn't be the first choice. Nor would, "could have drowned" be a first choice.


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 137
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #19

    Re: May\might

    I'm afraid I can't see the difference. I might have missed something or, perhaps, I could have missed something. What did the papers say? Nothing reported since the accident?

  4. SUDHKAMP's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Kannada
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 19,568
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #20

    Re: May\might

    The difference lies in which context is the phrase being used, whether referring to past or future.
    He might have died, had it not been for passerby who helped him reaching the hospital.
    He might have made a billionaire but for his bad habits.
    He might have been the next Prime Minister of India.

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. May\might 2
    By Tdol in forum Advanced
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 30-Jan-2011, 12:58

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •