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    #1

    Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Hi,

    What is difference for the following sentences?
    1. He may be in France.
    2. He might be in France.
    3. He could be in France.
    4. Perhaps he is in France.
    5. May be he is in France.

    What is a correct sentence between the two sentences below? If both are correct, what is difference?
    1. He might be in France because there was his home in France.
    2. He might be in France because there is his home in France.

    Thanks,
    Guy
    Last edited by Guy3; 11-Mar-2009 at 06:34. Reason: One more question added

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    #2

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Hello,
    At first, I'm not a teacher and just a learner of English so my answers are only my suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy3 View Post
    Hi,

    What is difference for the following sentences?
    1. He may be in France.
    2. He might be in France.
    3. He could be in France.
    4. Perhaps he is in France.
    5. May be he is in France.
    They mean the same, may have slight differences for native speakers.

    What is a correct sentence between the two sentences below? If both are correct, what is difference?
    1. He might be in France because there was his home in France.
    2. He might be in France because there is his home in France.
    "In France", by my opinion, is superfluous at the end of both sentences.
    A difference between them is that in the first sentence the time is past (He lived in France but perhaps no longer lives there) and in the second one - the present (He lives in France).
    I have doubt about using "there" in the sentences (especially pronouncing them, I would be say - ...because France was (is) his home).
    It would be better if you get a reply from a native speaker because I could be wrong.

    Thanks,
    Guy
    Last edited by greegorush; 08-Apr-2009 at 07:21.

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    #3

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Hi Greegorush,

    Thanks for the advice.
    What I actually wanted to know was, if 'might be' or 'could be' is used, should always past tense verb be followed?

    e.g. He might be in France because France was his home. (Meaning, he may be in France because France is his home.)

    If 'might be' and 'may be' have no difference, the following 'France was' and 'France is' should have no difference?

    Thanks,
    Guy


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    #4

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    What I actually wanted to know was, if 'might be' or 'could be' is used, should always past tense verb be followed?

    No.

    "He might be in France because France was his home": here, the writer is saying that 'he' used to live in France ( so may have gone there because he's familiar with the country and/or feeling nostalgic.)

    "He might be in France because France is his home": 'he' might be a world traveller, but the writer is saying, to the writer's knowledge, 'he' regards France as 'home'/has his actual home there. It is a current fact about the man referred to by 'he'.

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    #5

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Hi David,

    Thank you very much.

    Regards,
    Guy

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy3 View Post
    Hi,

    What is difference for the following sentences?
    1. He may be in France.
    2. He might be in France.
    3. He could be in France.
    4. Perhaps he is in France.
    5. Maybe he is in France.

    They mean the same thing to me. However, I've been told here that the British apply percentages of probability to may, might, and could. How they could do the math on that I'll never know.

    What is a correct sentence between the two sentences below? If both are correct, what is difference?
    1. He might be in France, because his home was in France. (OR: because his home was there.)
    2. He might be in France, because his home is in France. (OR: because his home is there.)

    You need a comma after France. Otherwise, you're saying that he definitely is in France, which wouldn't fit.

    Either 1 or 2 is correct, depending on whether he lives in France now or used to live there. So: are you asking what the difference is between is and was? You tell us!

    Thanks,
    Guy
    You're welcome!

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Difference: may be, might be, could be

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy3 View Post
    Hi Greegorush,

    e.g. He might be in France because France was his home. (Meaning, he may be in France because France is his home.)

    If 'might be' and 'may be' have no difference, the following 'France was' and 'France is' should have no difference?
    No. They're different. Is is different than was. Look:

    His home is in France. So: Does he live in France now? Pick: yes/no/maybe

    His home was in France. So: Does he live in France now? Pick: yes/no/maybe

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