i always confuse when i use may or might.
please tell me the correct usage and where.thanks
We usually use may when the outcome is likely and might when the outcome is less likely or uncertain. If you aren't sure whether you'll go to America this year and you say,
"We may not go to America this year," it can be misinterpreted to mean you don't have Visa (permission) or the required passport to go to America.
But if you say, We might not go to America this year," then your meaning ( not certain) is clear.
We also use might for everything in the past tense. For example, even if it's likely that Susan went to a party last night, Someone shouldn't say, Susan may have gone to the party last night. he should say, Susan might have gone to the party last night.
Good morning, sir.
(1) I always read your posts carefully, for I always learn so much from your explanations.
(2) May I respectfully address your statement that "We also use MIGHT for everything in the past tense."
(3) According to Professor John Honey in his controversial 1997 book LANGUAGE IS POWER (in which he opines that students should be taught standard English and that all varieties of English are not equal), he reminds us that native speakers misuse may/might have + past participle.
(4) As you so rightly pointed out, many people use "may" when they should use "might."
(5) Nevertheless, the good professor says that:
might have + pp = could have happened but did not. (If a central European bank had existed, a crisis might have been avoided.)
may have + pp = could have happened but we DON'T KNOW YET.
TOM: That was a great party last night! By the way, was Susan there? There were so many people there that I didn't notice.
MARTHA: I have no idea. For all I know, she may have been there. I was too drunk to notice.