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    #1

    "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    "If I had not done, I may not be here."
    Shouldn't it be "if I had not done, I would probably not be here."?
    Please explain.

    Thank you.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    Quote Originally Posted by MeyaN View Post
    "If I had not done it, I may not be here."
    Note my correction. the verb DO needs an object.
    Shouldn't it be "If I had not done it, I would probably not be here"?
    It could be that, or it could be If I had not done it, I might not be here.

    May is incorrect in the original sentemce.
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    #3

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    May is incorrect in the original sentemce.
    Sadly, the useful distinction between may and might is fading away. It's extremely common to hear may used as in the quoted sentence. I encourage learners to master the difference, but they shouldn't expect native speakers to respect it.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    But, for instance, "it may have been taken". Here may is used instead of might and this kind of expressions are used by famous writers who are very particular about grammar.
    Please give me insights into this.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    1. 'It may have been taken if he has spotted it.' ── It is possible that it has been taken.
    2. 'It might have been taken if he had spotted it.' ── It was not taken because he did not spot it.
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    #6

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    "May have been taken" was used for past scenarios. I don't know the reason, though.

    I think your first sentence is incorrect. I'd humbly invite experts to comment on it and also "may have been"

    Thank you.

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    #7

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    The difference between may and might for present/future possible situations hardly exists for most speakers nowadays:


    Emma may/might be at work now -
    It is possible that Emma is at work.
    Luke may/might come tomorrow - It is possible that Luke will come.

    Similarly, there is no real difference if we are talking about a possible past situation, that is, one that we are considering the present possibility of:

    Emma and Luke may have gone to Istanbul last week - The speaker considers that it is possible that they went. The speaker does not know.

    However, if we are speaking of something that was a possibility in the past, but that we know didn't happen, then only might have is possible:


    If American and allied forces had not invaded Afghanistan, ISIS might never have come into existence -
    The speaker knows that Afghanistan was invaded and that ISIS did come into existence. The speaker is thinking of an irrealis, counterfactual situation.

    All that is (moderately) clear. Unfortunately, you will often see may (not) have used in clause such as the one I underlined. For people of my generation (i.e., quite old), that is simply incorrect. However, it seems to be becoming increasingly used.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 04-Sep-2016 at 10:15. Reason: Added missing slash mark

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    #8

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Emma and Luke may have gone to Istanbul last week - The speaker considers that it is possible that they went.
    I think that applies to my first sentence in post #5, where the speaker considers that it is possible that it has been taken.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #9

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    "I might not be here" doesn't mean the same as "I probably wouldn't be here". The latter indicates a higher level of probability. The former only indicates possibility.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: "If I had not done, I may not be here."

    And, is "I would probably not be here" also correct besides "I probably wouldn't be here"?. Can the placement of such adverbs be anywhere?
    Thank you.
    Last edited by MeyaN; 04-Sep-2016 at 11:14.

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