I am for the first alternative?
Why not? May be isn't clear if he survived or not??
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".
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
May i know the answer?
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.
Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 30-Jan-2011 at 12:07.
Context. Context. Context.
I believe both are correct in spoken english depending on the part the speaker stresses.
This means we don't know whether he is alive or dead.