Might or May?

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Kaito-Hacker

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

TheParser

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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.
 

Nightmare85

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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. :up:
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!
 

TheParser

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Thanks for your explanation. :up:
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.
 

TheParser

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Thanks for your explanation. :up:
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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