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Thread: May/might

  1. #1
    Gordon..J is offline Newbie
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    Default May/might


    Does it matter whether I say, "I may attend the seminar tonight" or "I might attend the seminar tonight"?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: May/might

    Apparently might is less likely than may, and may is more common in formal language.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: May/might

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon..J View Post
    Does it matter whether I say, "I may attend the seminar tonight" or "I might attend the seminar tonight"?
    I'd say 'might' personally, but it wouldn't concern me if someone said 'may'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: May/might

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon..J View Post
    Does it matter whether I say, "I may attend the seminar tonight" or "I might attend the seminar tonight"?
    Not at all.

  5. #5
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: May/might

    The tone of voice is quite important. Thus here, I would think the speakers in #1 and #3 more likely to attend than the speakers in #2 and #4.

    1. I might be going to the seminar tonight! [said in a pleased tone]
    2. I may go to the seminar tonight. [said doubtfully]
    3. I may be going to the seminar tonight! [said in a pleased tone]
    4. I might go to the seminar tonight. [said doubtfully]

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: May/might

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon..J View Post
    Does it matter whether I say, "I may attend the seminar tonight" or "I might attend the seminar tonight"?
    Of course there is the 'permissive' sense of 'may' and 'might'.

    "The professor said that I may attend the seminar tonight." In this context, it's a lot more common (at least where I come from) than:
    The professor said that I might attend the seminar tonight".

    Another meaning - suggestion:
    Professor: "You might turn up to seminars occasionally, Watkins" Not 'may'.

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