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Learn to Speak English Fluently: Use of ‘may’ and ‘might’

Learn to speak English fluently using TLP Spoken English Course. The course is designed to facilitate self-learning in an easy way. To know more read: How to Use the Course Content? In the previous unit you have learnt to make Questions with ‘Shall’ and ‘Should’ and in this unit you will learn the use of ‘may‘ and ‘might‘.

Use of ‘may’

We use ‘may‘ —

  • To ask permission to do something (Formal usage).

May I come in?
May I use your cellphone?
May we borrow your car?

  • To give permission in reference to the present.

You may use my scooter.
You may go now.
They may use the kitchen.

  • To talk about a possibility in reference to the present.

I may be late.
I may go to my native place on Sunday.
They may come.

  • To make a personal wish to someone.

May God bless you!
May the couple live happily!
May you have a great day!

Use of ‘might’

Might’ is the past tense of ‘may’ and it is used–

  • To talk about a possibility in the present.

We might go to Delhi next week.
It might rain.

India might win the match.

  • To give or ask for permission in reference to the present.(formal)

Might I use your scooter?
Might I ask him to go?
Might I come late to the class?

  • To make a request in the present. It is more polite and formal than the one expressed using ‘may’.

Might I come late tomorrow?
Might I say something?
Might I pay my fee next month?

  • To talk about something that was possible in the past but did not take place we use ‘might’ with ‘have’.

India might have won the match.
He might have gone.
She might have got a first class.

Use of ‘mayn’t and ‘mightn’t’

He mayn’t exchange his currency.
They mightn’t attend the function.
She mayn’t go to a doctor.

Exercise: Write more sentences using the examples which you can use in your day to day conversation on your own and practice orally.

Previous: Questions with ‘Shall’ and ‘Should’

Next: Use of ‘Must’

Check the meanings of the words in English Oxford Living Dictionaries