May or might?

May or might?
I can say that English language is one of the most complex language ever spoken in the world aside from Chinese, Russian and other languages exist. Thank goodness, we started learning it during gradeschool. But even so, non-native English speakers tend to be confused of what word to use in a sentence and strangely, even native speakers do. Specially when it comes to using modals grammatically right. Among the modals known for being alike as to its grammatical function and is often in a eenie-meenie-miney-mo when used, is the 'might' or 'may'.

May and might are often interchangeably used in a usual conversation which is understandable since both of them are used to talk about possibilities. But keep in mind that there are still some difference wedged between them and are also important when applying them in a conversation. Here are those few:

  1. May is used; a. when asking a permission in a polite manner, e.g. "May I go out?" b. when giving permission in a polite manner, e.g. "You may now kiss the bride." c. when making a statement about something before saying a contrasting description, e.g. "The CEO make like your design but not everyone who will see it." d. when wishing or hoping, e.g. "May they have a happy married life." e. when talking about possible situations that are likely to happen, e.g. "She may enroll to college next year."
On the other hand, might is the past tense of may. We use might when we talk about possible situations which could've been the scenario in the past. E.g. "They might have had a rough time during their marriage as to why they divorced." Might is also used when pertaining talking about probabilities that are far-fetched and often assumed. E.g. "Her face was so pale and her lips was chapped as if she might have been seriously illed."

But funny how it seems, most of us don't really pay much attention of these unlikeness between may or might so long as it sounds right when using in a sentence. With a lot of grammar rules to keep in mind, who knows if everyone is able keep up to all these rules. But at the very least, it's always good that you're able to discover new things that you may want to use in the future.

Comments

csk81
Choosing between may and might is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make.These days, the two are basically interchangeable. We're going to tell you the rule for when to use each one, but you'll never really be wrong in choosing one over the other. In most situations, it's a win-win.
Posted by csk81 on 11-20-2018
agbuyarashel
The technique that I do is I'll pronounce the phrase and add each then I'll choose what I feel more applicable which is not always accurate.
Posted by agbuyarashel on 11-21-2018
Denis_P
As important as it is to understand the technicalities of a language's spelling and grammar, sometimes you just have to go by your gut feeling and say what simply sounds right. I was actually watching a show the other day about the Serbian language. They were reflecting on how what you learn in grammar books and language guides might be technically correct, but you’re going to sound like a dork if you use that sort of language in real life. When learning a language, you need to familiarize yourself with it and use it in a colloquial way, otherwise your speech is going to sound unnatural and forced.
Posted by Denis_P on 11-22-2018
hstinscdln
They have different actual uses. I use both of them but I mostly use may when asking for permission and might for something that has an uncertainty or possibility of happening. I sometimes use may for the almost same purpose with might but I think that might has a stronger chance of happening and may only has a slight chance.
Posted by hstinscdln on 11-22-2018
nekonieden
I find it difficult to identify what words should I use between the two. Sometimes I even repeatedly read my sentences if my words sounds appealing or not. Now I know how I use ''may'' and "might". I thought they don't have any differences at all but found out they have a little differences.
Posted by nekonieden on 11-26-2018
gutzman
Maybe it is because people get used to it that they consider it correct either way. Also some people use their ear to identify grammatical errors whether if it sounds correct or not. Using both interchangeably doesn't have much difference that would easily make you notice that there is something wrong with your sentence aside from using it in a question.
Posted by gutzman on 12-03-2018
davedaot
Well it's not really difficult, I read a website about both may and might and they explained it well. You should use "may" if its entirely possible or factual and you also use "might" if its hypothetical or remotely possible.
Posted by davedaot on 12-06-2018
emiaj55
Often times, these modals are often overlooked. Especially in conversations when they sound alright. Well as long as the other understands what you really mean then I would think that it is alright. But knowing simple rules like this is very important if you are making a career or living out of writing.
Posted by emiaj55 on 12-08-2018
Corzhens
It is really hard to explain the exact usage of may and might but I guess it is in the practice. I learned the use of might when I was reading books during my high school years. With the word “may” it is more of a polite gesture but also one that gives permission or approval. But again the best learning in using those 2 words is the practice that if you use them often then you will be comfortable with it.
Posted by Corzhens on 12-10-2018
kaka135
Thank you for sharing the usage between may and might. I do find them confusing. I used to think may is the present tense and might is the past tense. Some of my native English speaking friends told me, they don't really concern much about the Grammar like we do, but they do read a lot of English books and then they just know how to use the language correctly. I also think the more I read, the better I can write too.
Posted by kaka135 on 12-13-2018
jpk0007
Well, May and Might are a little confusing for any person who is new to the English language. They have almost similar meaning but I don't think that they are interchangeable. I mean if you use might in the place of may, then the meaning of the sentence will change. in the same manner, you cannot replace may at the place of might. Its always better to read the sentence or the paragraph before using these words if you are not sure about which one to use
Posted by jpk0007 on 12-15-2018