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  1. Kaito-Hacker's Avatar
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    #1

    Might or May?

    What's differences between might and may?
    How should i use them properly?

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    #2

    Re: Might or May?

    These are very big questions- click on the links to see some of the discussions on the topic:

    UsingEnglish.com ESL Forum - Threads Tagged with may
    UsingEnglish.com ESL Forum - Threads Tagged with might

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    #3

    Re: Might or May?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaito-Hacker View Post
    What's differences between might and may?
    How should i use them properly?

    ********** NOT a teacher **********

    Hello, Kaito-Hacker.

    (1) I just wanted to point out something very important that some

    learners may not understand.

    (2) Sometimes when Americans say might, that is a polite way

    to say NO:

    Tom: Are you coming to my birthday party?

    Sue: Oh, I might.

    Depending on the tone of her voice, it could be a polite way of

    saying No. (Nice people do not want to hurt other people's

    feelings.)

    (3) In other words, if someone tells you that s/he might visit you

    the next day, do not be surprised if s/he does not visit you.

    *****

    But if someone says that s/he may visit you, there is a stronger

    possibility that s/he will actually visit you.

    THANK YOU

    P. S. Some people use these percentages:

    I might visit you. = 40% possibility.

    I may visit you. = 60% possibility.

    I will visit you. = 99% possibility.

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Might or May?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    P. S. Some people use these percentages:

    I might visit you. = 40% possibility.

    I may visit you. = 60% possibility.

    I will visit you. = 99% possibility.
    Thanks for your explanation.
    If you say "I will visit you. = 99% possibility.", then I wonder about "going to" and the progressive version.
    (Because going to should have a bigger possibility and the progressive one the biggest.)

    Just another small question:
    I always thought "might" was the past tense version of "may".
    So they are nothing alike?

    Cheers!

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    #5

    Re: Might or May?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Thanks for your explanation.
    If you say "I will visit you. = 99% possibility.", then I wonder about "going to" and the progressive version.
    (Because going to should have a bigger possibility and the progressive one the biggest.)

    Just another small question:
    I always thought "might" was the past tense version of "may".
    So they are nothing alike?

    Cheers!
    ********** NOT a teacher **********

    Hello, Nightmare.

    You have asked two important questions. I do not wish to say

    anything until I have time to do some research. But I hope that

    some teacher answers you, for s/he can do a much better job

    than I.

    THANK YOU.

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    #6

    Re: Might or May?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Thanks for your explanation.
    If you say "I will visit you. = 99% possibility.", then I wonder about "going to" and the progressive version.
    (Because going to should have a bigger possibility and the progressive one the biggest.)

    Just another small question:
    I always thought "might" was the past tense version of "may".
    So they are nothing alike?

    Cheers!
    ********** NOT a teacher **********

    Hello, Nightmare.

    (1) As I now type, no one else has yet answered, so may I give you

    some ideas?

    (2) I found a good explanation for your second question.

    (a) You are 100% correct: might is the past tense of may.

    (b) It is often used in indirect speech:

    He said, "I may have time."

    He said that he might have time."

    (3) Your first question is harder. You are a long-time member, so

    you know that people are always asking about the difference between

    wiil future and be going to future. I shall give my opinion, but remember

    that it is only my opinion. You need a teacher's answer.

    (a) I will (shall) visit you tomorrow.

    (i) formal English.

    (ii) a promise.

    (b) I am going to visit you tomorrow.

    (i) informal English.

    (ii) my intention (I plan to do so).

    (c) I am visiting you tomorrow.

    (i) I agree with you that this is the strongest. It is something like:

    I do not care if there is a big storm or an earthquake or a war, I am

    visiting you tomorrow!!!

    THANK YOU

    P. S. As I said in my post to the original poster, may and might are

    often used to express possibility:

    He may recover from his illness.

    He might recover from his illness. (As one book puts it, might

    means that it is much more doubtful that he will recover.)

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