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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
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    #1

    might be and might not be

    Which are correct:

    1-He might be tall and he might not be tall.

    2-He might be tall or he might not be tall.

    3-He might be tall and he might be short.
    4-He might be tall or he might be short.

    5-He might have committed a crime and he might have saved people's lives.

    6-He might have committed a crime or he might have saved people's lives.


    I think '1' and '2' both work.
    I don't think '3' really works.

    To me '5' and '6' have different meanings. '6' means it is one of two things: either this or that.
    '5' seems to be saying that the two things are independent and not necessarily mutually exclusive. It might even be possible that he might have saved lives by committing a crime. That would probably best be expressed by:

    7-He might have committed a crime and saved lives.


    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: might be and might not be

    Hi, Navi!

    An English expression for what you're doing is splitting hairs or hair-splitting. All of the sentences are fine. You're right that 5 and 6 have different meanings that depend on the context. But we don't know what the context is.

    Your written English is better than most Americans'. (I'm an American.) For what it's worth, you don't need half-quotes around numbers. Only use quotes, half-quotes, and italics when they add meaning.

    Keep up the good work!

    Charlie

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: might be and might not be

    1 is impossible. He can't be both.
    2 is grammatically OK but it's unnecessary to give both alternative possibilities.
    3 is impossible. He can't be both.
    4 is grammatically OK but with the same note as 2.
    5 and 6 are both possible.

    I like Charlie's suggestion of 7 - that definitely that suggests that in the process of committing the crime, he saved people's lives.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
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    #4

    Re: might be and might not be

    Thank you both very very much for your kind replies and thank you Charlie for the compliment (although I do believe you overestimate me a bit!)

    Emsr2d2, I think that 5, 6 and 7 each have a different meaning. They are all correct, but do not mean the same.

    At first I thought 5 could be used instead of 7, but now I think it can't. By the way Charlie has not said anything about 7. I wouldn't mind knowing what he thinks about it either!


    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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