In Grammar By Victoria

The modal verb MAY (MIGHT)

The second of modal verbs in the English language, that we will learn to be a verb may, which is the same as the form can have far — actually may — and past time might. Considering the cases of the use of the modal verb may, we shall proceed in the same manner as with the verb can, namely, a list shows the situation where it is necessary that the modal verb, and clarify how to understand and translate the proposal to him. Total transfer of the modal verb — can, can, etc. The equivalent of this modal verb is the form to be allowed to (You are allowed to read these notes. — You are allowed to read the record).

May modal verb used to express

  1. Perhaps there because of certain circumstances, where there are no obstacles. These situations, we will only see in the affirmative sentences. Depending on the time of the modal verb form, we distinguish: may do — you can, might do — it was possible.
  2. You may order a ticket by telephone. — You can order tickets by phone.

    Fashion may be changing, but style remains. — Fashion may change, but the style remains the same.

    Fortune may smile upon you one day. — One day you can smile luck.

  3. Permits and requests. It is worth noting that both the resolution and request a specific modal verbs may be sound more formal than the verb can. And might this embodiment is the height of politeness.
  4. May I ask you a question, sir? — Sir, can I ask you a question?

    You may use my telephone. — You can take my phone.

    May I have another sweet? — Can I have another piece of candy?

    If we are not allowed, but on the contrary, to forbid something to help us come modal verb must.

    You must not shout here. — You can not scream.

  5. Assumptions related to the doubts that the Russian language is transmitted such vocabulary as «possibly could be.» In this case, after may / might can stand any infinitive.
  6. It may happen to any person. — It could happen to anyone.

    Kelly may have fallen ill. — Kelly, perhaps unwell.

    He may be resting now. — Maybe he’s resting right now.

    Remember how we evaluated the degree of confidence in anything as a percentage from the modal verb can? The modal verb may also be subject to this calculation. What do we get? The modal verb might suggest that we are talking about a situation or event, and, perhaps, the events with 50% confidence. But in a modal verb may this belief as much as 75%, there is little doubt.

    It might be very late. — Maybe it’s too late.

    It may be very late. — Probably too late.

    Let’s emphasize the above paragraph above. The use of the modal verb may in combination with perfect infinitive means that the speaker is not sure that there has been a perfect action, but he believes it is quite likely. The combination might with the same infinitive involves even greater uncertainty.

    The manager may have lost that document himself. — The manager is likely he had lost the document.

  7. The form might modal verb used in the sentence may, if agreed with the times.
  8. Steve said he might help me. — Steve said that, maybe I can help.

    I told him that he might go home. — I said that it might be time to go home.

  9. With the help of modal verbs may and might form the past tense and can talk about the events of the future, ie activities that await us in the future.

    I do not know where to spend my vacation. I may go to France. — I do not know where I was to spend your vacation. Maybe I will go to France.

    The sky is overcast. It might rain this evening. — Mainly cloudy. In the evening, maybe it will rain.

And as a highlight of the modal verb may, remember the expression may as well / might as well, which can be translated as «quite possible.»

I may / might as well go to the theatre now. — It is possible that now I go to the theater.

This topic is closely related to the other as described in the articles that need to pay attention:

  • «The modal verb CAN (COULD)»
  • «The modal verb DARE»

After reading them, we recommend to pass the following test: «Test # 1 on the use of modal verbs in the English language.»



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