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  1. seba_870701's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 284
    #1

    may not

    Hi guys.
    I'd like to ask You a question about modal verbs. I thought 'may' and 'might' are modals expressing probability, but recently I've learnt that 'may not' means the same as 'must not.' it confused me a little. Thus my question is: How to express, with modal verb, that it is possible that some event will not happen. Can I say: it may/might not happen? Or it is incorrect? If it is wrong, provide me with a correct version, please.
    Kind regards,
    Sebastian


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: may not

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    Hi guys.
    I'd like to ask you a question about modal verbs. I thought 'may' and 'might' are modals expressing probability, but recently I've learnt that 'may not' means the same as 'must not.' it confused me a little.

    Me too, Sebastian. Can you give us an example? Modals express both deontic [social] and epistemic [level of certainty] meanings. It sounds like someone might have confused the two.


    Thus my question is: How to express, with modal verb, that it is possible that some event will not happen. Can I say: it may/might not happen? Or it is incorrect? If it is wrong, provide me with a correct version, please.

    Yes, you can use a negative may/might as in,

    "It may/might not happen" but they wouldn't be all that common. Mostly, they'd be used as a mild denial of a positive may/might statement.

    A: We'd better cancel the picnic. It may/rain.

    B: It may/might not rain. Let's wait a bit longer before we decide.




    Kind regards,
    Sebastian
    #

  2. Hi_there_Carl's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 464
    #3

    Re: may not

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    Hi guys.
    I'd like to ask You a question about modal verbs. I thought 'may' and 'might' are modals expressing probability, but recently I've learnt that 'may not' means the same as 'must not.' it confused me a little. Thus my question is: How to express, with modal verb, that it is possible that some event will not happen. Can I say: it may/might not happen? Or it is incorrect? If it is wrong, provide me with a correct version, please.
    Kind regards,
    Sebastian
    Seba,
    Depending on use "may not" could mean either "must not" or "might not".
    Examples: Seba: "May I have some cake?" Carl: "No you may not." in this case may not means that you do not have permission. However, in the sentence "I hope I go to Florida this year but I may not." may not means that it may or may not occur.
    It is perfectly acceptable to use "it may/might not happen"

  3. seba_870701's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 284
    #4

    Re: may not

    Hi Riverkid!
    Well, I don't remeber the exact situation that made me so confused, so I can't write it to You. Shoud I retrieve it from my memory, I'll write it here And, of course, I thank both of You guys! You're more than helpful
    Cheers.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #5

    Re: may not

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    Hi Riverkid!
    Well, I don't remeber the exact situation that made me so confused, so I can't write it [to] for you. Shoud I retrieve it from my memory, I'll write it here And, of course, I thank both of You guys! You're more than helpful
    Cheers.
    I've been thinking about this a bit too and I can't imagine a situation where 'must' means 'may' for permission.

    I don't believe that Carl's example shows this connection though I may well be missing something.

    +++++++++
    Carl wrote:
    Depending on use "may not" could mean either "must not" or "might not".
    Examples: Seba: "May I have some cake?" Carl: "No you may not." in this case may not means that you do not have permission.
    +++++++++++

    Again, I can't think of how we would use 'must not' to state 'one doesn't have permission'. Is there a meaning in English for a 'must' of permission? There might be, but it eludes me right now. Perhaps, Carl could show us one.

    "No you may not" is close to "No you can not" in meaning.
    Last edited by riverkid; 17-Nov-2007 at 22:24.

  4. seba_870701's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 284
    #6

    Re: may not

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I've been thinking about this a bit too and I can't imagine a situation where 'must' means 'may' for permission.

    I don't believe that Carl's example shows this connection though I may well be missing something.

    +++++++++
    Carl wrote:
    Depending on use "may not" could mean either "must not" or "might not".
    Examples: Seba: "May I have some cake?" Carl: "No you may not." in this case may not means that you do not have permission.
    +++++++++++

    Again, I can't think of how we would use 'must not' to state 'one doesn't have permission'. Is there a meaning in English for a 'must' of permission? There might be, but it eludes me right now. Perhaps, Carl could show us one.

    "No you may not" is close to "No you can not" in meaning.
    How about: "You musn't go to school tomorrow. You're too sick."?
    Maybe that's a bad example, but I believe "musn't" conveys here the meaning of lack of permission. Although, I know it is not the 'standart' way of expressing lack of permission. Comment on that Riverkid, please. I'd like to see Your point of view. All in all, You're the one who's spoken that language for ages and I'm just a student of a foreign language.
    Seba

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