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

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1005. This poll is closed
  • This means he survived.

    268 26.67%
  • This means we don't know whether he is alive or dead.

    737 73.33%
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Thread: May\might 2

  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default May\might 2


  2. #2
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    hi tdol!

    I am for the first alternative?
    Why not? May be isn't clear if he survived or not??

  3. #3
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    He may have died.

    This can be used in either an epistemic modal manner or a deontic modal manner so either is possible. 'may' used in the latter fashion, as a deontic denoting an admonishment is a much less likely collocation than 'could' or 'might', hence we have a greater tendency to view it as "a possibility that he died".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    i think both are possible depending on the situation and the intonation the speaker uses while saying it. the first one will mean that he escaped close death and the second will imply uncertainity

  5. #5
    bessy1227 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    hi,
    May i know the answer?

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    He may have died in the accident.- current status unknown
    He might have died in the accident.- he survived, but there was a risk of death

    However, this distinction is being eroded and many speakers use 'may + have + past participle' with the second meaning.

  7. #7
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    He may have died in the accident.- current status unknown
    He might have died in the accident.- he survived, but there was a risk of death

    However, this distinction is being eroded and many speakers use 'may + have + past participle' with the second meaning.
    This distinction never existed, Tdol, at least not in the sweeping fashion that has been suggested. In certain circumstances, 'might' can be used in a mocking, admonishing type fashion;

    "He might have been killed if you two had tried that stunt."

    But to suggest that a speaker can't state that, in their mind, there's a greater certainty that death could have occurred, leaves certain thoughts unexpressable in English. This is something that just can't possible occur.

    "He may have been killed if you two had tried that stunt."

    "He probably would have been killed if you two had tried that stunt."

    "He almost certainly would have been killed if you two had tried that stunt."

    "He would have been killed if you two had tried that stunt."

    He may have died in the accident.- current status unknown or an admonishment

    He might have died in the accident. - current status unknown or an admonishment

  8. #8
    rommanomar is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    Thank you very much

  9. #9
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    He may have died in the accident.- current status unknown.

    He might have died in the accident. - current status unknown or an admonishment.

    My contribution, just in case anyone might be interested.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: May\might 2

    I believe both are correct in spoken english depending on the part the speaker stresses.

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