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  1. #1
    angelg is offline Junior Member
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    might versus may

    When should I use "might" versus "may"?

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Re: might versus may

    Quote Originally Posted by angelg View Post
    When should I use "might" versus "may"?
    [Oh, that I had tagged all previous responses]

    Good day, Angelg. Basically, 'might' describes a weaker sense of certainty than 'may'.

    Let's take an example which will illustrate where these modal verbs sit in relation to one another.

    Pretend that it didn't say where you were from. But there are five different speakers and each of them has varying degrees of knowledge about you. They each comment on your country of origin:

    Level of certainty
    100% ------------------ Angel is from Cuba.

    90-99% ---------------- Angel must be from Cuba.

    51-89% ---------------- Angel is probably/likely from Cuba.

    26-50% ---------------- Angel may be from Cuba.

    1-25% ----------------- Angel might be from Cuba.

    These examples all show the level of certainty of each speaker.

    Notice the large range for each modal/semi-modal.

    These numbers are not exact. They are simply to help you understand the relationship between the different modal meanings.

  3. #3
    Kraken's Avatar
    Kraken is offline Member
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    Re: might versus may

    It depends on the degree of certainty.
    Say 50% for "may" and 30% for might.

    It may rain tomorrow
    It might rain tomorrow

    I'm not a teacher, amigo.

    **Edit**
    Riverkid has been faster and his explanation is better than mine.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Re: might versus may

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post

    These numbers are not exact. They are simply to help you understand the relationship between the different modal meanings.
    I wrote,

    "These numbers are not exact."

    There is one point that I will suggest is exact. 'may' is 50% and below, while 'should/probably/likely' is above 50%. Why? Because the meaning for epistemic 'should/probably/likely' does not allow for an equal chance, [50-50]; it only allows for a chance greater than 50-50.

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