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What is the difference between may and might

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englishgeek

Active member
Sep 23, 2020
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May is used to express the possibility of something, such as "I may visit you tomorrow after work".

Might is the past simple of "may". For example, "I thought he might be interested in investing in my new business".

You can also use might to express the possibility of something happening.

"My grandparents might visit us next summer".

Might can also be used to make a suggestion, such as "I thought you might like to read this book".

Try writing some examples to show your understanding of the two words.
 
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alexanderfinn

New member
Feb 16, 2021
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Sorry, but the above are not quite correct. There is very little difference between might and may. Both express possibility and both can be used in the past, present and future.

'I might go out this evening', is not really different from, 'I may go out this evening.'

Similarly in the past 'He may have gone out' and 'He might have gone out.' are similar.

When used as an offer of help, or a request, 'might' is very old-fahioned and not used much these days. If it is used it is very formal.

'May I help you?' and 'May I try on this jacket?' are standard expressions, but a shop assistant would look at you strangely if you said 'Might I...'

One time when 'might' is used and 'may' is much less common is when discussing something and offering a different opinion.

For example:

A: We need to market this better in Japan. Sales are very poor.
B: Might this be because the product simply doesn't appeal to Japanese taste?

('could' can also be used in this example)

strangely, adding 'not' does not change the meaning.

A: We need to market this better in Japan. Sales are very poor.
B: Might this not be because the product simply doesn't appeal to Japanese taste?
 
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